Inslee Signs Bill Creating Permanent Universal Health Care Commission

E2SSB 5399 Sets Foundation for Transition to a Universally Financed Health Care System

Alliance for a Healthy Washington helped draft and pass legislation signed by Governor Inslee on May 13, 2021. The legislation sets up a permanent universal healthcare commission to begin work on transitioning the state to a universally financed healthcare system. 

E2SSB 5399 is the next critical step for our state to take in achieving a system that could save individuals, families, small businesses, large businesses, and the state billions each year once a unified financing system has been established, while responding to the moral imperative we face as a democratic society.

Specifically, this commission will provide an implementable strategy for changes to the state’s health care financing and delivery system to increase health care services and health coverage, reduce health care costs, reduce health disparities, improve quality, and prepare the state for the transition to a unified health care financing system.

The key bill components are:

  • Creates a permanent commission of 15 individuals, legislators, and agency directors, six of which are governor appointed; staffed by the Health Care Authority and beginning within 90 days of signing.
  • Requires a preliminary report, due November 1, 2022, identifying recommendations to the Legislature on implementable steps to ready the state to transition to a unified financing system.
  • Establishes preliminary infrastructure requirements to transition to a universal health care system, including a unified financing system, that controls health care spending to make the system more affordable.
  • Requires the Health Care Authority to begin the application process for federal waivers within 60 days of their availability.
  • Empowers state agencies to implement, within their authority, specific recommendations from any of the reports issued by the commission.
  • Provides collaboration with all communities to improve health outcomes for Washington’s residents, and works to mitigate structural racism.

 

The full bill report, text of the bill, and all committee hearing materials can be found here.

Read an article written by The Stranger on May 19, 2021 here.