HCA seeking members to serve on universal health care work group

Wed, 06/12/2019

The Health Care Authority (HCA) is seeking Washington residents interested in serving on a work group exploring universal health care. These individuals would represent health care consumers on the work group, which will also include experts in health care financing and delivery.

The 2019 Legislature directed HCA to convene this group to “study and make recommendations to the Legislature on how to create, implement, maintain, and fund a universal health care system that may include publicly funded, publicly administered, and publicly and privately delivered health care that is sustainable and affordable to all Washington residents.”

The commitment for members of the work group includes:

  • Part-day meetings every other month over the next 18 months. To accommodate the busy schedules of work group members, we will strive for a mix of in-person and online meetings in various locations around the state. HCA will provide staffing support for the meetings.
  • The work group must deliver preliminary findings and recommendations for public comment by Nov. 15, 2019, and May 15, 2020, with a final report due to the Legislature by Nov. 15, 2020.

“We are looking for people who can share their experiences and insights as consumers of health care,” said HCA Director Sue Birch. “The work group’s conversations and final recommendations will be richer if the voice of consumers is included.”

To apply for this work group

If you are interested in serving as a public member of this work group, please send the following information to tamarra.henshaw@hca.wa.gov by July 15, 2019:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • A few sentences about why you are interested in participating on this work group

State operating budget language about this work group

The health care authority is directed to convene a work group on establishing a universal health care system in Washington. $500,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2020 is provided solely for the health care authority to contract with one or more consultants to perform any actuarial and financial analyses necessary to develop options under (b)(vi) of this subsection.

(a) The work group must consist of a broad range of stakeholders with expertise in the health care financing and delivery system, including but not limited to:

(i) Consumers, patients, and the general public;
(ii) Patient advocates and community health advocates;
(iii) Large and small businesses with experience with large and small group insurance and self-insured models;
(iv) Labor, including experience with Taft-Hartley coverage;
(v) Health care providers that are self-employed and health care providers that are otherwise employed;
(vi) Health care facilities such as hospitals and clinics;
(vii) Health insurance carriers;
(viii) The Washington health benefit exchange and state agencies, including the office of financial management, the office of the insurance commissioner, the department of revenue, and the office of the state treasurer; and
(ix) Legislators from each caucus of the house of representatives and senate.

(b) The work group must study and make recommendations to the legislature on how to create, implement, maintain, and fund a universal health care system that may include publicly funded, publicly administered, and publicly and privately delivered health care that is sustainable and affordable to all Washington residents including, but not limited to:

(i) Options for increasing coverage and access for uninsured and underinsured populations;

(ii) Transparency measures across major health system actors, including carriers, hospitals, and other health care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and provider groups that promote understanding and analyses to best manage and lower costs;

(iii) Innovations that will promote quality, evidence-based practices leading to sustainability, and affordability in a universal health care system. When studying innovations under this subsection, the work group must develop recommendations on issues related to covered benefits and quality assurance and consider expanding and supplementing the work of the Robert Bree collaborative and the health technology assessment program;

(iv) Options for ensuring a just transition to a universal healthcare system for all stakeholders including, but not limited to, consumers, businesses, health care providers and facilities, hospitals, health carriers, state agencies, and entities representing both management and labor for these stakeholders;

(v) Options to expand or establish health care purchasing in collaboration with neighboring states; and

(vi) Options for revenue and financing mechanisms to fund the universal health care system. The work group shall contract with one or more consultants to perform any actuarial and financial analyses necessary to develop options under this subsection.

(c) The work group must report its findings and recommendations to the appropriate committees of the legislature by November 15, 2020. Preliminary reports with findings and preliminary recommendations shall be made public and open for public comment by November 15, 2019, and May 15, 2020.