Health Care

Crowds flock to Seattle Center for free health care

October 22, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Crowds flock to Seattle Center for free health care

Seattle Center is gearing up for an onslaught of visitors this weekend, many of whom will begin waiting in the ticket lines before dawn. But it’s not a music festival or championship game that’s drawing thousands to Key Arena this time. This weekend the crowds will be made up of individuals and families from across the region standing in line for free medical care. Despite the fact that our state recently signed up 1.3 million people for free or subsidized … Continue reading

Ebola epidemic in the US? Unlikely.

October 8, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Ebola epidemic in the US? Unlikely.

There is no denying that Ebola is a deadly disease. The most recent outbreak in West Africa has been by far the largest, infecting 7470 people and killing 3431. The loss of life is tragic. And the spread of Ebola is scary. There are characteristics of Ebola that make it deadly: The incubation period is 21 days. Half the people who have contracted Ebola have died. But, there are also other characteristics of Ebola that work in our favor: It … Continue reading

Did you have trouble signing up for health care?

September 12, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Did you have trouble signing up for health care?

If you ran into technical problems or paperwork troubles when signing up for health coverage, you’re getting help. From Aug. 27 through Nov. 14, people who tried to sign up and ran into roadblocks get a fresh start. Those affected by technical problems and other issues can basically start over. According to the state Insurance Commissioner, they can: Stick with their current health insurance company and plan, Switch to a different plan offered by their health insurer, or Pick an … Continue reading

Washington state No. 4 for boosting health coverage

August 19, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Washington state No. 4 for boosting health coverage

Only three states did better than Washington in giving more people health insurance, according to a national survey. Gallup says 16.8 percent of people in the Evergreen state didn’t have health insurance. Now, after Washington helped lead the way on health reform, that’s down to 10.7 percent. Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement hailing the achievement, stating, “Gallup has confirmed what we know from our experience here in Washington: expanding coverage for working people in Washington by effectively implementing needed … Continue reading

Protect those noggins!

August 1, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Protect those noggins!

Children’s brains are constantly growing and developing. As such, they are more sensitive and easily damaged than adult brains — and their concussions are much more serious. The same impact or force can do more damage to children and teen brains than adult brains. And, it can also take them longer to heal. So when children receive head injuries, it is very important for them to rest, recover and see a medical professional, even if the impact seems minor. Concussions … Continue reading

The 2014 Kids Count report is out; Washington is a mixed bag

July 28, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

The 2014 Kids Count report is out; Washington is a mixed bag

Each year, the Annie E. Casey Foundation releases its Kids Count Data Book, which contains information on the state of children in the United States. The 2014 edition reports some good—and some troubling—news about Washington’s children. On the up side, we gained a spot over the course of one year; our overall rank went from 19 in 2013 to 18 in this year’s report. And over the past few years we’ve made slight but important improvements in both education and … Continue reading

Measles cases on the rise

July 18, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Measles cases on the rise

So far this year, there have been 554 reported cases of measles infections in the United States. 27 of those have been in Washington state, that’s a huge increase from last year, in which only 5 cases were reported in our state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 97 percent of the reported measles infections have originated in other countries. 70 percent of the people who got the disease were not vaccinated, while the status … Continue reading

The perfect gift for newlyweds? Health care coverage!

July 15, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

The perfect gift for newlyweds? Health care coverage!

Before the legislature passed and Washington voters approved marriage equality, our state’s same-sex couples could enter a “domestic partnership”. On June 30th, domestic partnerships that had yet to be converted to marriages were automatically switched. This conversion is important for a number of reasons, including health care coverage. In order to accommodate couples who find themselves newlyweds, Washington Healthplanfinder has announced a special enrollment period. According to Healthplanfinder, “The 60-day enrollment window provides these couples with a unique opportunity to … Continue reading

Reapply, reapply and reapply!

July 8, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Reapply, reapply and reapply!

That’s what experts say about sunscreen; at least every two hours, and if you are in the water, every 80 minutes. Many people use sunscreen, but don’t follow directions properly, leaving themselves at risk of sunburn and possibly skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. As we reported yesterday, the Department of Health says that Washington state has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the country. In fact, if … Continue reading

Skin cancer on the rise in Washington

July 7, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Skin cancer on the rise in Washington

Last week, the Washington state Department of Health released startling statistics on the prevalence of melanoma in our state. Despite our infamous gray skies and rainy days, Washingtonians rank fourth in the nation for skin cancer. As temperatures begin to rise, the Department of Health recommends several common sense measures to protect you and your family and lower your risk. You can help prevent skin cancer by using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher; staying … Continue reading

Health care choices for our grads

June 25, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Health care choices for our grads

Graduation season is finally winding down. The speeches have been given, cards are opened and cake is all eaten. That means it is time for our college graduates to take the next step in their lives. However, as they begin their job search, many will go without health care coverage. It doesn’t have to be this way. Washington Healthplanfinder is offering a special enrollment period for recent graduates. In order to get covered, grads must apply for special enrollment within sixty … Continue reading

More treatment options for injured workers

June 10, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

More treatment options for injured workers

The Department of Labor & Industries’ medical provider network for injured workers has more than doubled in size since it went live in January 2013. The network, which includes physicians, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, doctors of podiatry, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists and optometrists, is one of the results of landmark legislation passed on 2011 to reduce costs for the state’s workers’ compensation program, and improve workers’ outcomes following injury. According to this L&I press release, with more than … Continue reading

Good news: Local clinic closes its doors

May 28, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Good news: Local clinic closes its doors

Yes – you read that headline correctly. A free clinic in Tacoma closed down in January and it is good news. Talking Points Memo reports that the clinic shut its doors largely because the patients it served since opening in 2009 could finally get medical care elsewhere. Way back in June of 2012, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, the team at the RotaCare Clinic came up with a plan to sign-up all of their patients … Continue reading

May is “Teen Pregnancy Prevention” month

May 23, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

May is “Teen Pregnancy Prevention” month

Nearly 25 years ago, teen pregnancy reached an all-time high in Washington state. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the teen birth rate in our state was 23.4 births for every 1,000 teenage girls in 1991. Since then, teen birth rates have declined by 56 percent. Furthermore, in the last year alone, the teen birth rate decreased by eight percent This decline is important. The Center for Disease Control reports that teen mothers are “…more … Continue reading

Healthy teeth = a healthy body

May 20, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Healthy teeth = a healthy body

Recently, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that Washington leads the nation in access to dental care for low-income children! Fifty-four percent of our Medicaid eligible children are receiving dental care. Our success is due largely in part to a program called “Access to Baby and Child Dentistry” or “ABCD”. ABCD links children from low-income families with dentists trained in pediatric care. ABCD was started in Spokane 20 years ago by two University of Washington Dental School professors, and now … Continue reading

Rep. Steve Tharinger – Health Care Access Champion

May 8, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Rep. Steve Tharinger – Health Care Access Champion

Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Sequim) was first elected to the Legislature in 2010. Since that time he has left a mark regarding health care access that is quite… well… remarkable. In just the last session, Steve was the prime sponsor of bills to: Expand East Asian medical practitioner’s scope to include reflexology Expand the number of allopathic physicians by allowing certified, foreign doctors to provide care in the state without jeopardizing patient safety Create a joint legislative committee to address the … Continue reading

More choices for health care in Washington

May 7, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

More choices for health care in Washington

#461237139 / gettyimages.com   Washington state helped lead the nation in health care reform, working on a state marketplace long before other states started preparing for national health care reform. (See Health reform bill goes to the governor, Moving forward on health care reform and What health care reform really means for your community) Now the state Insurance Commissioner has announced even more companies will join that marketplace and offer plans on the Washington Healthplanfinder exchange. In the first year, … Continue reading

New low-income healthcare clinic in Bellevue!

April 25, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

New low-income healthcare clinic in Bellevue!

I went to the opening of the new ICHS clinic in Crossroads yesterday. It’s exciting to have this kind of facility here – one that is focused on serving our low-income population that have signed up in droves for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. All these newly insured people have to have somewhere to go, and this kind of facility will deliver the kind of care that works – culturally and linguistically appropriate high-quality medical care. It’s on 140th … Continue reading

Problem with your health care application? No problem at all.

April 18, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Problem with your health care application? No problem at all.

As expected, the Washington Healthplanfinder website experienced a heavy influx of activity in the days leading up to the March 31st deadline for open enrollment in health care plans. This high level of traffic, both on the website and at the call centers, caused a few technical problems that may have interfered with the ability to complete the application on-time. According to Healthplanfinder, about 11,000 Washingtonians began applications but didn’t finalize them. There’s good news for these individuals and families … Continue reading

Governor signs Tarleton bills on health care, economic development, renewable energy

March 28, 2014 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Governor signs Tarleton bills on health care, economic development, renewable energy

Governor Inslee signed three bills on Friday sponsored by Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard) that will increase access to health care, strengthen our maritime industry, and move Washington closer to a clean energy future. HB 2351, which received unanimous approval in the House and Senate, will allow healthcare professionals licensed in other states to come to Washington and volunteer their services for a temporary time. “This idea came from people at Seattle Center who had a vision of making health care … Continue reading

Protecting our kids from a “healthy glow”

March 13, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Protecting our kids from a “healthy glow”

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer? According to the American Cancer Society, almost half of cancer diagnoses in the United States are a form of skin cancer. What’s most alarming about this trend is that skin cancer is largely preventable through common sense sun-safety measures, including avoiding indoor tanning beds. Here are a few facts on tanning from the Center for Disease Control: Indoor tanning before you’re 35 increases your risk of melanoma … Continue reading

Prioritizing mental health, preventing tragedies

March 10, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Prioritizing mental health, preventing tragedies

On July 5, 2013, Doug and Nancy Reuter received the most heartbreaking news of their lives: their 28-year-old son, Joel, was dead. Joel had struggled with bi-polar disorder since 2004 and, in the weeks leading up to his death, had refused his medications.  Doug and Nancy tried over and over to get their son the mental health treatment he desperately needed. Each time they got the same answer – Washington state’s involuntary commitment law was too narrow to detain Joel. … Continue reading

Stonier cancer license plate bill approved by the Senate

March 7, 2014 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Stonier cancer license plate bill approved by the Senate

The state House of Representatives approved HB 2700 sponsored by Rep. Monica Stonier of Vancouver on Tuesday, which creates breast cancer awareness license plates for Washington drivers. “Washington state ranks in the top 25 percent in cancer diagnosis and is sixth highest for female breast cancer,” said Stonier on the House floor. “Tonight we can take a vote allowing a license plate that will make a big difference in the lives of many Washingtonians.” The new license plates may feature … Continue reading

Need health care? Time is running out!

March 4, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Need health care? Time is running out!

The deadline for enrollment in health care plans offered through our state’s online marketplace – Washington Healthplanfinder – is rapidly approaching. March 31st is the last day to sign up for health insurance. Ahead of this nationwide deadline, the Associated Press has compiled a handy list of what you need to know about open enrollment. Here’s a sample: ALREADY COVERED? NO WORRIES Most people don’t need to do anything. Even before the health care law passed in   2010, more than … Continue reading

ASK TINA

February 14, 2014 - Rep. Tina Orwall

ASK TINA

Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, responds to constituent emails on closing tax loopholes to support schools, and on health care expansion.

Keeping Washington’s children healthy

February 14, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Keeping Washington’s children healthy

In 2009, 17 year old Zachery Swezey, a popular student and athlete at Pateros High School, began suffering from severe stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea. Over the course of three days he could not get to the bathroom on his own and could not control his bowel. Zachery’s parents called in church elders to pray for him. His fever was so high that he went without clothing and soaked the sheets with sweat. At the end he was delirious. His … Continue reading

Tarleton bill will bring in volunteer medical professionals from neighbor states

February 13, 2014 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Tarleton bill will bring in volunteer medical professionals from neighbor states

The House unanimously approved HB 2351 today, granting out-of-state healthcare professionals the ability to practice in Washington on a limited voluntary basis. Washington is home to numerous nonprofit humanitarian organizations that mobilize and host large, volunteer-based free health clinics for underserved, impoverished, and often homeless members of the community. All too often, these public service clinics are under-staffed, and as a result the nonprofits are unable to treat every patient. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Seattle), will allow … Continue reading

Stonier cancer license plate bill approved by the House

February 12, 2014 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Stonier cancer license plate bill approved by the House

The state House of Representatives approved HB 2700 sponsored by Rep. Monica Stonier of Vancouver on Tuesday, which creates breast cancer awareness license plates for Washington drivers. “Washington state ranks in the top 25 percent in cancer diagnosis and is sixth highest for female breast cancer,” said Stonier on the House floor. “Tonight we can take a vote allowing a license plate that will make a big difference in the lives of many Washingtonians.” The new license plates may feature … Continue reading

Joel Connelly post on the Reproductive Parity Act

February 6, 2014 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Seattle PI writer Joel Connelly posted a great piece on the Reproductive Parity Act, which the House voted to approve yesterday. Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Seattle, laid out the Reproductive Parity Act case, saying:  “This affirms what Washington voters have been saying since 1970:  We trust women to make their own choices, in private, regarding family planning, reproductive health and termination of pregnancy. “The Reproductive Parity Act protects women’s rights and access at a time when we are revolutionizing health care … Continue reading

Riccelli bill seeks to expand access to affordable health care

February 4, 2014 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

Riccelli bill seeks to expand access to affordable health care

Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) has introduced legislation that would take the first-step towards implementing the Federal Basic Health Option in Washington, with the ultimate goal of providing low-cost health insurance for thousands.  While the state made significant strides when it expanded Medicaid last year, there are still many cases where coverage is out-of-reach. “Too many Washingtonians still go without the security and protection of health care coverage,” said Riccelli, Vice Chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee. “It … Continue reading

Listen up!

January 31, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Listen up!

This has been a very busy week for State Rep. Laurie Jinkins. On Tuesday, as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee she presided over one of the most hotly contested issues in Olympia – the gun initiatives.  Tuesday’s hearing drew hundreds of supporters for the dueling initiatives -  I-594, requiring universal background checks and I-591, outlawing universal background checks. Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly also came to speak in favor of universal background checks. … Continue reading

An Update from Rep. Marcus Riccelli

January 31, 2014 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

It has been a busy start to the 60-day session. As Vice Chair of the Health Care & Wellness committee, I am doing my best to support infants, children and families in Washington state. Healthy families are the cornerstone of thriving communities. But right now, we are headed in the wrong direction. Too many children are not getting the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. It hurts to think that my children’s generation may be the first to … Continue reading

Riccelli bills promote healthy children and families

January 30, 2014 - Rep, Marcus Riccelli

Riccelli bills promote healthy children and families

This week House committees heard testimony on three different pieces of legislation sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) that target children’s health.   “Healthy families are the cornerstone of thriving communities. But right now, we are headed in the wrong direction,” said Riccelli, a father of two small children. “Children of all ages are not getting the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. For the first time, this generation of children may live shorter lives than their parents. … Continue reading

House passes first paid sick and safe leave for Washington state

January 29, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

House passes first paid sick and safe leave for Washington state

Today, in a 52-45 vote, the House passed HB 1313, allowing for some paid sick leave for all workers. The prime sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jinkins spoke in favor of its passage on the House Floor, saying, “Getting sick shouldn’t mean getting fired. You shouldn’t have to choose whether or not to stay home with a sick kid or put food on the table for your family at the end of the week. But that’s what’s happening today. One … Continue reading

Morrell continues work on mental health reform

January 28, 2014 - Rep. Dawn Morrell

Morrell continues work on mental health reform

Last year, Rep. Dawn Morrell championed several pieces of legislation to ensure that people suffering from mental illness get the health care attention they need. This year, Rep. Morrell is back-to-work pushing key reforms that seek to integrate mental health care into our traditional health care model. “If you go to the emergency room with a broken leg, you’ll see a doctor specializing in orthopedics,” said Morrell, a critical care nurse. “Why isn’t it the same for mental health care? … Continue reading

Mr. Schwartz goes to Olympia

January 28, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Mr. Schwartz goes to Olympia

Do you need a fancy suit or law degree to make a difference in Olympia? Nope and nope. Citizen-activists make a difference here every day. Take Jeff Schwartz — a regular guy with a full-time job, two kids, and a big time problem on his hands. Jeff’s youngest son, Jacob, had a rare gastrointestinal disorder that caused his body to reject food. In order for Jacob to get nutrition, he required a certain type of formula that didn’t come cheap. … Continue reading

McCleary, DREAM Act, health care

January 20, 2014 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

McCleary, DREAM Act, health care

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we wanted to share with you this video tribute in which House Democrats celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.     First week of the legislative session is complete We completed the first week of the 2014 Legislative Session and it included a rare first-day vote, Governor Inslee’s first State of the State address, and several public rallies. Looks like it’s going to be a jam-packed 60 days! Here are … Continue reading

ICYMI: Speaker Chopp & Rep. Sullivan on TVW’s Inside Olympia

January 20, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

ICYMI: Speaker Chopp & Rep. Sullivan on TVW’s Inside Olympia

Speaker Frank Chopp and Majority Leader Pat Sullivan spoke with TVW’s Austin Jenkins on Inside Olympia. They discuss issues that will be front and center for the 2014 legislative session like education, jobs, transportation, and health care.    

Women’s health care at the top of the agenda – again

January 17, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Women’s health care at the top of the agenda – again

Last year, Washingtonians began purchasing health care through the online marketplace, Washington Healthplanfinder, for the very first time. Though great news, there inevitably was some confusion about what plans offer what services. This confusion was compounded with regards to reproductive services. Enter the Reproductive Parity Act (RPA) – which brings fairness and clarity to this process. The bill, which was heard again Monday, simply requires that plans offering coverage for maternity services must also cover abortion services. There’s no decision … Continue reading

Can educating more nurses head off a health care provider shortage?

January 15, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Can educating more nurses head off a health care provider shortage?

Many observers have noted how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may find the country at a loss for primary care providers. A recent study by non-profit research RAND Corp in the November journal Health Affairs warns “projections suggest that if nothing changes in the delivery of primary care, the United States may face a substantial shortage of primary care physicians… by 2025.” However, it also says the primary care provider shortage could be mitigated by as much 50% through an … Continue reading

Bipartisan Statement on Medical Marijuana

January 15, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Bipartisan Statement on Medical Marijuana

Statement from House Health Care and Wellness Chair Eileen Cody and Ranking Member Joe Schmick “Today the House Health Care and Wellness Committee heard passionate testimony both in favor of and in opposition to House Bill 2149. Last November, Washington voters told us that they approved of the recreational use of marijuana. Fourteen years before I-502, they approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes. To further complicate matters, the possession of marijuana – for both medical and recreational uses … Continue reading

Rep. Jinkins – diabetes prevention extraordinaire!

January 14, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Rep. Jinkins – diabetes prevention extraordinaire!

Rep. Laurie Jinkins has lived with diabetes almost her entire life. When she was diagnosed with “childhood onset diabetes,” now known as Type 1 Diabetes, insulin pumps were huge, weighing more than 4 lbs. Thankfully, medicine has come a long way since them.  However, in the last 100 years since treatment has improved, the rates of diabetes have skyrocketed. Today, nearly 26 million children and adults in the US have diabetes.   And, it is expensive. Treating diabetes costs an estimated … Continue reading

Speaker Chopp’s opening day remarks

January 13, 2014 - Speaker Frank Chopp

Speaker Chopp’s opening day remarks

Opening Day Remarks (as written) Thank you. Before I begin my remarks, please let me introduce my wife, Nancy Long. With only 60 days, we have plenty of challenges and opportunities before us. Let me highlight a few: Last year, we made some progress in funding basic education. This year, we must take the next steps to meet our constitutional responsibility — the education of our kids, and to support those who work —day in and day out — to … Continue reading

WA Healthplanfinder enrollees nearing 250,000

January 10, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

WA Healthplanfinder enrollees nearing 250,000

Earlier this week, Washington Healthplanfinder released new enrollment figures. According to their press release, 248,270 have signed up for coverage – through either private providers or Washington Apple Health – since October 1st. Healthplanfinder offered this breakdown of the completed enrollments: Qualified Health Plans: 71,205 Medicaid Newly Eligible Adults: 121,258 Medicaid Previously Eligible but not Enrolled: 55,807 Medicaid Redeterminations (Previously Covered):156,206 From the launch date of October 1st – January 2nd, the Healthplanfinder website has had 1,079,663 unique hits and … Continue reading

Are increased emergency room visits in Oregon exposing a problem with the ACA?

January 7, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Are increased emergency room visits in Oregon exposing a problem with the ACA?

Or are they a sign of normal growing pains? We know that one goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to reduce the number of emergency room visits where treatment for non-emergencies is more expensive than if handled through a primary care provider. So a recently published study in the journal Science that shows emergency room visits by patients covered under Oregon’s pilot program have actually gone up instead of down seems troubling. However, many experts are not at … Continue reading

Resisting the urge to judge the Affordable Care Act

December 9, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

A super-interesting (and brief) overview of how all the moving parts of the ACA have affected us, including the bad (website roll out) with the good (additional coverage, bending cost curve, rebates for excessive administrative spending, etc.) http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Blog/2013/Dec/Resisting-the-Rush-to-Judge-the-Affordable-Care-Act.aspx

Affordable health care – a long journey, but well worth the wait.

December 4, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

We’re two months into the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While short of their original goal, supporters are highlighting the 100,000 people who now have affordable health care coverage. Opponents, on the other hand, have zeroed in on consumers whose plans have been canceled. Consumers like the Joy Family from California, whose old plans will not be offered under the ACA, forcing them to pay more money for new plans. Are these stories really representative of the overall … Continue reading

Suicide prevention is a priority in our state

November 15, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Suicide prevention is a priority in our state

According to the Washington State Injury and Violence Prevention Guide, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24 in our state. This translates to 25 percent of the deaths in this age group, which averages to about 2 youth dying by suicide each week. A Des Moines lawmakers is determined to change those statistics and has been working diligently on ways to identify the signs that lead to suicide. Rep. Tina Orwall began tackling … Continue reading

Hudgins: Washington state must innovate while investing in tech

November 12, 2013 - Rep. Zack Hudgins

How much do taxpayers spend on computers and technology? The answer is hidden in line items throughout the state budget—and it may surprise you. “About two billion dollars,” said Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, the chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. “That’s how much we estimate we spend on information technology and computers. So it’s important that we do it right.” Hudgins has a background in the tech business from working for Amazon.com and at Microsoft, and he says … Continue reading

One month of Obamacare: 140,000 have signed-up for health care

November 5, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

​It’s been just over a month since our state’s health insurance marketplace, Washington Healthplanfinder, officially got up-and-running. While hiccups at the national level have grabbed the majority of headlines, Healthplanfinder is quietly helping thousands of Washingtonians access affordable, quality health care for the very first time. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, almost 49,000 people have enrolled since the beginning of October. Furthermore, “Another 52,000 applications, which would provide coverage to another 91,000 people, have been completed and are … Continue reading

Rx for death: National overdose deaths rise, but state deaths fall

October 16, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Rx for death: National overdose deaths rise, but state deaths fall

When it comes to preventing prescription-drug overdoses, Washington is very effectively swimming against the tide of a tragic preponderance of other states. Most states have failed to establish strategies for overcoming the mounting incidents of prescription-drug overuse. Says a recent report: “… prescription drugs are now to blame for the majority of fatal drug overdoses in the U.S., surpassing the number of deaths related to heroin and cocaine combined.” [Emphasis added.] In fact, Washington is one of only six states … Continue reading

Greetings From Spokane: An Update from Representative Marcus Riccelli

October 11, 2013 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

          In this edition: Federal Cuts to Food Assistance Checking in on Health Reform 3rd District Mobile Office     In Olympia: 327 John L. O’Brien PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504 (360)786-7888 In Spokane: 25 West Main Spokane, WA 99201 (509)456-2760 Visit my Website Email: Marcus.Riccelli@leg.wa.gov Legislative Assistant: Michaela Williams Michaela.Williams@leg.wa.gov Federal Cuts to Food Assistance Many people and businesses in our community rely on food assistance (EBT), which will be cut at the end of … Continue reading

They are Obamacare

October 9, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

They are Obamacare

Medical bills continue to be the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. And while the Affordable Care Act doesn’t claim to completely solve that problem, it’s a good first step in the right direction. Obamacare is saving lives and sparing the pocketbooks of low and middle income Americans. HuffingtonPost has a collection of stories from of people would have suffered due to a medical condition if it weren’t for Obamacare. Like Eric Wolske who lost his foot in a … Continue reading

Answers to your health care questions

October 4, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Answers to your health care questions

October 1st marked the beginning of open enrollment and the launch of Washington Healthplanfinder – our state’s online health insurance marketplace. The overwhelming number of visitors temporarily disabled the website, but the kinks are being worked out and folks are now able to sign-up for health care from the convenience of their own computer. Before you sit down to shop for insurance, make sure you have the correct website: www.wahealthplanfinder.org. Unfortunately, a number of copy-cat websites are cropping up. It’d … Continue reading

Affordable, high-quality health care now available

October 1, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Despite the federal government shutdown, open enrollment in our state’s health insurance exchange officially got underway this morning. Washington Healthplanfinder is an online marketplace for individuals, families and small businesses to compare and enroll in health insurance coverage. “Healthplanfinder will open the doors of health care coverage to countless Washingtonians for the very first time,” said Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle), Chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee. “By eliminating the fine print and making health care easier … Continue reading

The Washington Healthcare Exchange is here…and so is help!

October 1, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

The Washington Healthcare Exchange is here…and so is help!

Today is the day!  The Washington Healthcare Exchange is opening this morning, allowing consumers who do not have healthcare to purchase it on the open market. Affordable access to healthcare is very exciting! But this new opportunity can also be confusing. Luckily, there are many resources at the fingertips of Washingtonians to help us along the way. The Health Care Authority and other state agencies are putting together information packets and tool kits for reform stakeholders and volunteers to use … Continue reading

Statement from Rep. Tharinger on co-chairmanship of ‘age wave’ committee

September 30, 2013 - Rep. Tharinger

Representative Steve Tharinger (D-Dungeness) has offered the following statement regarding his appointment as co-chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Aging and Disability: “Washingtonians are living longer, healthier and more independent lifestyles than ever before. This is great news – but it also presents us with a unique set of challenges. Last session, we created the Joint Legislative Committee on Aging and Disability to come up with a plan of action to meet the long-term needs of a population that … Continue reading

Are you a woman in Washington? This is a great place for you….

September 30, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Are you a woman in Washington? This is a great place for you….

Our little northwest corner of the nation is a pretty progressive place. We cultivate an environment of individuality, creativity, and personal freedom. Other states look to us for leadership on defining issues of our time, such as women’s access to health care. With great foresight, voters of Washington passed Referendum 20, in 1970. This legalized abortion in the first few months of pregnancy, three years before Roe vs. Wade. In 1991, our voters affirmed a woman’s right to choose with … Continue reading

Health care reform is coming–here’s what you need to know

September 27, 2013 - bergstromg

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I hope this can help clear up some of the confusion. In Washington state, we’ve chosen to go all-in on the ACA (sometimes called Obamacare) – and Washington families are already benefitting from this decision! So far: Sick kids can’t be denied health insurance. Young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26. Full coverage of FDA-approved birth control at no cost to women. … Continue reading

E-Newsletter from Rep. Orwall on the ACA, Exchange, and Healthplanfinder

September 26, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

E-Newsletter from Rep. Orwall on the ACA, Exchange, and Healthplanfinder

Health care reform is coming. Here’s what you need to know. Dear Neighbors, You’ve probably been hearing and reading a lot about the next steps in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are coming soon. It can seem overwhelming at times, so I hope this e-memo can help clear up some of the confusion. In Washington state, we’ve chosen to go all-in on the ACA (sometimes called Obamacare) – and Washington families are already benefitting from this decision! So … Continue reading

Rep. Wylie’s e-newsletter for September 25, 2013

September 25, 2013 - Rep. Sharon Wylie

Rep. Wylie’s e-newsletter for September 25, 2013

Health care reform is coming. Here’s what you need to know. You’ve probably been hearing and reading a lot about the next steps in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are coming soon. It can seem overwhelming at times, so I hope this e-memo can help clear up some of the confusion. In Washington state, we’ve chosen to go all-in on the ACA (sometimes called Obamacare) and Washington families are already benefitting from this decision! So far: – Sick … Continue reading

Health care reform is coming. Here’s what you need to know.

September 19, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Health care reform is coming. Here’s what you need to know.

You’ve probably been hearing and reading a lot about the next steps in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are coming soon. It can seem overwhelming at times, so this may clear up some confusion. In Washington state, we’ve chosen to go all-in on the ACA (sometimes called Obamacare) – and Washington families are already benefiting from this decision! So far: Sick kids can’t be denied health insurance. Young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until the age … Continue reading

More health plans coming to Washington state

September 10, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

More health plans coming to Washington state

As part of national health-care reform, citizens and businesses in Washington state will have a new way of shopping for health care as of Oct. 1. Also, more health providers are joining the competition to get your business. Originally, four health providers were approved to offer plans. Now, seven different health care providers are in the mix. The new marketplace for health coverage– wahealthplanfinder.org — is a simpler, cheaper way of shopping for health care. A total of seven health-care … Continue reading

Get answers to your insurance shopping questions

September 4, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Get answers to your insurance shopping questions

Starting in October of 2013, all Washingtonians will be able to shop for insurance using the Washington Healthplanfinder which will: •Protect consumers by making it easier to shop for health plans and truly compare prices, services offered and quality of care •Help those with chronic health problems or high-cost illnesses get health coverage •Establish minimum standards for consumer protection, covered services, healthcare provider selection and financial solvency •Help people with serious health problems get affordable coverage through our state’s high … Continue reading

Tharinger appointed to committee preparing for “age wave”

August 7, 2013 - Rep. Steve Tharinger

Tharinger appointed to committee preparing for “age wave”

Last legislative session, Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Dungeness) secured funding to create the Joint Legislative Committee on Aging and Disability. The committee will be tasked with coming up with a plan of action to meet the needs of a population that grows older every day. “Fourteen percent of Washington’s population is over the age of 65,” said Rep. Tharinger. “In the district I represent, that figure is closer to 30 percent. We must come up with a plan to meet the … Continue reading

The good and bad news on health care costs

August 6, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

The good and bad news on health care costs

The bad news: medical costs are rising. The good news: Washington state is leading the way to keep costs down. Back in 2005, the Legislature created the Health Technology Assessment. The committee, compromised of doctors and nurses, is charged with evaluating medical procedures for cost-effectiveness and safety. Their oversight has led to the elimination or scaling-back of coverage for several procedures – saving the state about $40 million/year. What may seem like a small, common-sense change is now getting attention … Continue reading

“This Washington” saves money on Medicaid costs

July 30, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

“This Washington” saves money on Medicaid costs

In an interesting article on the “Center for Public Integrity” website Washington State is called out as having a cost-effective way to make decisions about what medical treatments don’t actually work, and to stop paying for them. This is not without controversy, as you might expect. In order to cut costs and put Medicare on a stronger footing, many health policy experts say the program must stop covering procedures that do little to improve patient health or are not worth … Continue reading

Join me August 6 for a town hall discussion

July 29, 2013 - Rep. Monica Stonier

Join me August 6 for a town hall discussion

Please join me on Tuesday, August 6th at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the the Cascade Public Library for a town hall. (600 NE 136th Ave Vancouver, WA 98684) I’ll provide a recap of what happened – and what didn’t happen – during the 2013 legislative session. I’ll also share my thoughts on what the 2014 session looks like going forward. But most importantly, I want to hear from you. What did you like out of this session? … Continue reading

Health care reform in less than seven minutes

July 22, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

We’ve already enjoyed big improvements to our health care system courtesy of the federal Affordable Care Act: The ACA removed caps on lifetime benefits – protecting Washington families from losing everything when someone gets sick. The law requires full coverage of birth control at no cost to women. Young adults looking for work during these tough economic times are able to stay on thier parent’s plan until they find work or turn 26 – whichever comes first. There’s more to … Continue reading

​”We’re NOT No. 1! We’re NOT No.1!”

July 18, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

​”We’re NOT No. 1! We’re NOT No.1!”

Hey, fitness and health-care fans: The USA has fallen out of first place in the latest Earthwide obesity standings. (Yes, the anti-bragging rights for this non-honor were saddled on Uncle Sam’s ample hind quarters for a good many years.) The 99-page 2013 U.N.chronicle looks at the world’s developed nations and tallies the percentage of their people 20 years old and up whose body mass index (BMI) is 30 and up. Mexico just barely captures the top spot, edging us out … Continue reading

Education wins in final budget

July 8, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Education wins in final budget

A week has passed since the end of the second (and final) special session this year and I’ve finally put socks and shoes on and shaved. This was an exhausting exercise as the Senate Republicans figured out how they were going to make decisions. I’m pleased we were able to get it done at the end, but would have preferred to have not come so close to the deadline for shutting down most state services. The final budget addresses most … Continue reading

Vibrant communities require strong families

June 26, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Vibrant communities require strong families

Never forget the very real world behind raw budget numbers — always sound advice, especially in this day and age. House Democrats are keeping that reality in mind as we work with the Senate on a compromise budget. And even as these dollars-and-cents endgames play out in Olympia, hot off the press is an annual report on the national and statewide “state of the kids.” The 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation lists Washington No. … Continue reading

Op-ed by Rep. Tharinger, Sen. Bailey: Readying for Generation Retirement

June 23, 2013 - Rep. Tharinger

It doesn’t matter whether you call Seattle or Spokane home. It doesn’t matter if you call yourself a conservative Republican or liberal Democrat or something in between. Few issues touch us all — but as mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, wives and husbands, each of us will eventually face the challenges of aging. Baby boomers are now retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day. Families across the nation face the same set of challenging issues. Have I saved … Continue reading

Rep. Cody talks health care reform, gun control and education

June 23, 2013 - Rep. Cody

Rep. Cody talks health care reform, gun control and education

On June 20th, Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle) spoke with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Rep. Cody brought the group up to speed on the ongoing budget negotiations – as well as some of the highlights from the legislative session. “We’ll have a budget by June 30. It’s been a question and it’s not done yet … but it’s going in the right direction and everyone believes we’ll get it accomplished at this point.” Follow the link to read … Continue reading

Community health hangs on budget deal

June 20, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Community health hangs on budget deal

​While the official June 18 forecast for increased state revenue could smooth the path to a budget agreement in the Legislature, the deal is not yet done – and the continuing threat of a state-government shutdown should the impasse extend beyond June 30 worries plenty of folks. One of them is Sean McCliment, clinic manager at Sea Mar Community Health Centers in Olympia. If the 2013-15 budget cycle begins July 1 without an agreement, “Individuals and families will lose access … Continue reading

One step closer to quality, affordable health care for all

June 4, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

One step closer to quality, affordable health care for all

Washington state has long lead the nation in expanding access to affordable and quality health care for all. Case in point: House Democrats didn’t wait around for the Supreme Court to rule on Obamacare last summer. We passed legislation to ensure that Washington would be ready to make health care more accessible, portable, and affordable once the ACA provisions are implemented months ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling. A critical component of health care reform is the exchange – an … Continue reading

Fighting against diabetes

May 23, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Fighting against diabetes

Last weekend, 11,000 people participated in a Seattle race to fight juvenile diabetes. Diabetes is a statewide health problem, for kids and adults alike, affecting more and more people. Some numbers and facts about the size of the problem: •An estimated 453,455 adults (8.5%) in Washington state have diabetes. •Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are leading causes of death, and cause a third of all deaths annually. -67,000 hospitalizations per year -4,000 deaths -$1 billion in hospital bills alone •Many … Continue reading

Sweeping mental health care reforms approved by Governor Inslee

May 23, 2013 - WA House Dems

Sweeping mental health care reforms approved by Governor Inslee

We’ve seen the tragedy that can occur when the mentally ill don’t get the care they need. Tuesday afternoon, Governor Inslee approved several measures to improve mental health care and make Washington a safer place. Among the reforms is Rep. Tami Green’s bill to speed-up the implementation of changes to the involuntary treatment law – funding the updates two years ahead of schedule. “It’s a myth that all mentally ill people are dangerous – but as a nurse who deals … Continue reading

Looking for a new health care provider? Check here first.

May 22, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Looking for a new health care provider? Check here first.

Do you know if the pediatrician you just found for your child has been disciplined for medical or legal issues?  How about the nursing facility your grandparent is in? Well, the Washington state Department of Health (DOH) makes it easy for you to find out. DOH is the go-to agency when people encounter problems with their health-care providers. Department staff are responsible for investigating reports of wrongdoing by any of Washington’s 380,000 providers working in 83 different health care professions … Continue reading

How much do your local hospitals charge?

May 14, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

How much do your local hospitals charge?

For years, there was no way for an average person to really shop around when it came to hospitals. The system truly was like this video: Now the actual prices for common procedures are seeing the light of day. As part of national health care reform, the Obama administration released the average prices charged at 3,000 hospitals around the nation for the 100 most common medical procedures. Even experts were shocked and couldn’t explain the vast differences in prices charged … Continue reading

How much will your insurance cost next year?

May 3, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

How much will your insurance cost next year?

The Affordable Care Act turned three in March and last year we passed HB 2319 to fully implement health care reform in our state. To help you prepare for all the changes coming in 2014, the Insurance Commissioner’s website has tons of information on how health care reform will affect you. One of the main concerns when it comes to health care coverage is cost. You won’t be able to choose a health plan until later this year, but you … Continue reading

Youth-suicide prevention plan gets boost from Senate approval

April 17, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Youth-suicide prevention plan gets boost from Senate approval

Bill by Rep. Orwall strengthens efforts to aid troubled teens A comprehensive plan to help troubled teens and reduce youth suicide won approval in the state Senate earlier this week as House Bill 1336 moved closer to final legislative passage. “This bill is about making sure our educators have the tools they need to recognize warning signs and identify students with emotional issues so they can refer them for the help they need,” said Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, the … Continue reading

House budget proposal best for schools

April 10, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House budget proposal best for schools

The state will step up to its responsibility to educate public-school students and will make sure college graduates are ready for high-demand jobs under the budget proposal released by the House Democratic majority on Wednesday. The budget proposal authored by House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter, D-Medina, dedicates more new funding to education than either of the budget plans released earlier by the Senate Republicans or Gov. Inslee. “This is an honest, straightforward budget that meets our constitutional obligation to our … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – April 9, 2013

April 9, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – April 9, 2013

We passed the final policy cutoff last Wednesday – the last day thay bills not related to the budgets were considered in committee.  Also, the Senate released a budget proposal, following Governor Inslee’s rollout of his plan last week.  With those two budgets out, it’s now the House’s turn, and we expect to make our proposal public next Wednesday. Then the budget writers from both chambers will work toward a compromise budget that will support schools, public safety, and other … Continue reading

Town hall, veterans, and health insurance

April 8, 2013 - Rep. Jake Fey

Town hall, veterans, and health insurance

Joint Town Hall: Filled to Capacity Over the weekend, Sen. Jeannie Darneille, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, and I hosted a joint town hall meeting at Jason Lee Middle School. The local turn out was absolutely amazing and extra seats had to be made available to handle it. There were over 200 people in attendance! Our community continues to encourage me through strong engagement with and commitment to civic life. The topics brought up ranged from expanding and increasing quality of mental … Continue reading

War on middle class families continues in Senate budget proposal

April 5, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

War on middle class families continues in Senate budget proposal

Throughout the fall we heard about the Republican “War on Women” and the middle class. On Wednesday that battle continued with the roll out of the Republican Senate’s proposed $33.2 billion operating budget. Though there were some highlights, thanks to the work of Sen. Jim Hargrove and Sen. Sharon Nelson, the proposal still cuts millions from vital state services while protecting loopholes for powerful corporate interests. Touted as a “no new taxes” budget, Republican budget writer Sen. Andy Hill (R-Kirkland) … Continue reading

Budget and Health Care: Legislative Update

April 2, 2013 - Rep. Jake Fey

Budget and Health Care: Legislative Update

Thursday, Governor Inslee released his proposal for the 2013-15 operating budget. We expect that the Senate will follow with their own plan early next week, and the House will roll out our plan soon after. Then, budget writers in both chambers will begin finding common ground, ironing out the differences, and ultimately pass a balanced, two-year state budget. The $2 Billion Myth One argument you will hear in the upcoming weeks is that the state has $2 billion more in … Continue reading

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update, March 29, 2013

March 29, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update, March 29, 2013

Governor Inslee released his proposal for the 2013-15 operating budget yesterday.  We expect that the Senate will follow with their own plan early next week, and the House will roll out our plan soon after.  Then, budget writers in both chambers will begin finding common ground, ironing out the differences, and ultimately pass a balanced, two-year state budget. Health care for our heroes Assumed savings from Medicaid Expansion are included in Gov. Inslee’s budget. Beginning next year, the federal government … Continue reading

Seattle Times guest column by Rep. Roberts and Prof. Trupin on mental health care for kids

March 27, 2013 - Rep. Mary Helen Roberts

Seattle Times guest column by Rep. Roberts and Prof. Trupin on mental health care for kids

Get kids mental health care instead of sending them to juvenile courts The state should allow law-enforcement officials to send nonviolent youth to mental-health-care facilities instead of the juvenile-justice system, according to guest columnists Mary Helen Roberts and Eric Trupin.  IMAGINE you have a 14-year-old daughter named Carla with a mental-health disorder. Carla is at the mall with friends when she begins to experience an unusual burst of energy and a feeling of being indestructible. She starts climbing on counters … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 27, 2013

March 27, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 27, 2013

The 2013 Legislative Session is getting closer to the end.  The last official day of the regular session is April 28, and in these final weeks you will be hearing a lot about the state budget.  Legislators must pass a new two-year budget for the state by the April 28 deadline.  While it might seem that attention is only just starting to turn to the budget, budget writers have actually been working on various ways to balance the budget even … Continue reading

Legislative Update from Rep. Dawn Morrell

March 21, 2013 - toyrab

Last week was the House of Origin Cutoff week, and the cutoff deadline has officially passed. With some exceptions – namely, bills that are necessary to implement the budget – the House will now be turning its attention to legislation our Senate colleagues have passed to us. Senate bills are being referred to House committees, and the next few weeks will be busy with more public hearings.  Over in the Senate, they’ll be doing the same thing, holding hearings on … Continue reading

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for March 20, 2013

March 20, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for March 20, 2013

Update on my bills I am so pleased that all 9 of my remaining bills passed the House before cutoff!  SHB 1341, regarding compensation for those wrongly convicted and imprisoned; SHB 1290, which requires county auditors to place postage-free ballot drop boxes at each campus of a public institution of higher education; and 2SHB 1526, which expands access to the Running Start program, were my final 3 bills to pass the House last week.   I have already begun testifying on … Continue reading

What health care reform really means for your community

March 19, 2013 - Rep. Dawn Morrell

What health care reform really means for your community

Working as a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, I’ve seen firsthand the difficulties that individuals face as they navigate our health care system. I have spoken to folks who are worried about losing their health coverage – or have friends and family who don’t have any insurance at all. I’ve treated patients who go without coverage because of the high cost. We’ve got a real opportunity to change our health care system into one that is cost-effective, promotes … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 18, 2013

Dear neighbors, The cutoff deadline has officially passed, so bills that didn’t make it out of its house of origin last week are likely dead, unless they are necessary to implement the budget.  The House will now turn its attention to legislation our Senate colleagues have passed to us. The next couple of weeks will be busy with public hearings.  Over in the Senate, they’ll be doing the same thing, holding hearings on bills we have passed to them.  Remember, … Continue reading

Legislative update from Rep. Eileen Cody

March 15, 2013 - Rep. Eileen Cody

Legislative update from Rep. Eileen Cody

It’s House of Origin Cutoff week, and the cutoff deadline has officially passed. With some exceptions – namely, bills that are necessary to implement the budget – the House will now be turning its attention to legislation our Senate colleagues have passed to us.  Senate bills are being referred to House committees, and the next few weeks will be busy with more public hearings.  Over in the Senate, they’ll be doing the same thing, holding hearings on bills we have … Continue reading

Bills to improve long-term care clear House of Representatives

March 12, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Bills to improve long-term care clear House of Representatives

Currently there are 830,000 people over the age of 65 in Washington state. That evens out to about fourteen percent of the population. Over the last few days, the House of Representatives has taken necessary steps towards making sure that Washington is ready to meet the needs of its aging population. “Thirty percent of the district I represent is over the age of 65,” said Rep. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim). “As a paramedic, I see what happens when these … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 11, 2013

Dear neighbors, These last few days have been long with late evenings and even Saturday working to pass bills on the Floor. But we have to do it this way. If we stuck to a 9-5 schedule, chances are we’d run out of time and many bills would die.  While it may seem like many of the bills we pass are unimportant to some people, they are vital to the folks who are affected by those legislations.  Passage of some … Continue reading

House advances Tharinger’s ‘age wave’ measure

March 7, 2013 - Rep. Steve Tharinger

House advances Tharinger’s ‘age wave’ measure

In less than a decade, over 30 percent of Washington state’s population will be over the age of 65.  This rapid demographic shift is being called the “age wave,” and Rep. Steve Tharinger (D – Dungeness) thinks the state needs to focus on preparing to meet the needs of this population. Yesterday, the state House of Representatives approved Tharinger’s bill setting up a select committee tasked with preparing the state for an increasing number of aging residents, including those with … Continue reading

House passes Orwall’s troubled youth legislation

March 4, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

House passes Orwall’s troubled youth legislation

This afternoon, on a 90-8 vote, the Washington State House of Representatives passed a measure that would increase the capacity for school districts to recognize and respond to troubled youth.  “This bill will give our schools basic skills and tools to identify early signs of troubled students and make sure they get referred for help,” said Rep. Tina Orwall  (D-Des Moines) the bill’s prime sponsor, who authored another suicide prevention measure last year. “This bill will ensure that our schools … Continue reading

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for Feb. 28, 2013

February 28, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for Feb. 28, 2013

Dear Neighbors, We celebrated Children’s Day on February 18th, a yearly tradition in the House of Representatives that usually coincides with the Presidents’ Day holiday. With many children out of school for the holiday, we invite them to join us as we recognize the special place children hold in our communities, and the hopes and dreams they symbolize for a better future.  That future depends on the work we do here in the Legislature, and Children’s Day reminds us that every decision … Continue reading

Health Reform Hits Main Street

February 28, 2013 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Health Reform Explained Working Washingtonians deserve to be a part of the health care system- not a burden on it. We believe in One Washington, with opportunity for all, and that means making sure all of our citizens – young and old, rich and poor – have health coverage. Medicaid Expansion saves us money, expands health care coverage, and creates jobs. We are bringing our tax dollars home to insure an additional 385,000 Washingtonians. Check out this great video that … Continue reading

Rep. Sam Hunt’s Electronic Newsletter – February 22, 2013

February 25, 2013 - Rep. San Hunt

We began this week at the Legislature by celebrating Children’s Day, a yearly tradition in the House of Representatives that usually coincides with the Presidents’ Day holiday. With many children out of school for the holiday, we invite them to join us as we recognize the special place children hold in our communities, and the hopes and dreams they symbolize for a better future.  That future depends on the work we do here in the Legislature, and Children’s Day reminds us that … Continue reading

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-newsletter for Feb. 25, 2013

February 25, 2013 - Rep. Mary Helen Roberts

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-newsletter for Feb. 25, 2013

Last week the Legislature celebrated Children’s Day, a yearly tradition in the House of Representatives that usually coincides with the Presidents’ Day holiday. With many children out of school for the holiday, we invite them to join us as we recognize the special place children hold in our communities, and the hopes and dreams they symbolize for a better future. That future depends on the work we do here in the Legislature, and Children’s Day reminds us that every decision we make affects future generations. … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – Feb. 25, 2013

February 25, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – Feb. 25, 2013

What are you doing this Wednesday evening? If you’re home and have the time, I hope you will join our telephone town hall. Households across the 19th Legislative District will receive a phone call at around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27 from me, Representative Dean Takko and Senator Brian Hatfield, inviting you to join our one-hour town hall-style discussion. We held a similar one last year and 7,500 of you participated, so we decided to repeat the experience. If … Continue reading

House approves Reproductive Parity Act

February 22, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House approves Reproductive Parity Act

As state legislatures across the country are taking steps to limit reproductive freedoms, lawmakers in Olympia are fighting to protect the choices that already exist in Washington state. This morning, the House of Representatives approved the Reproductive Parity Act in a 53-43 vote. The Reproductive Parity Act would protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions by requiring insurance plans to offer full coverage for reproductive health. “Nothing is more personal or private than a woman’s freedom … Continue reading

Legislation cracking down on “Gay Conversion Therapy” introduced in the House

February 14, 2013 - waldrefj

A new bill authored by Rep. Marko Liias (D-Edmonds) would convene a workgroup through the Department of Health to examine and potentially regulate the controversial practice of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE), alternatively known as “Gay Conversion Therapy “or “Reparative Therapy” for those under 18 years of age. Last year California passed a new law banning the practice of so-called “Reparative Therapy” the practice of allowing licensed and unlicensed counselors to engage in efforts to change the sexual orientation of … Continue reading

Rep. Cody receives AMA’s highest honor

February 13, 2013 - toyrab

Rep. Cody receives AMA’s highest honor

Representative Eileen Cody received the American Medical Association’s Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Public Service by a State Legislator last night in Washington, D.C. The Davis Award is the AMA’s highest honor for government service in health care. It is named after the AMA’s founder and recognizes the work of elected and career officials in federal, state and municipal service whose contributions have promoted medicine and the betterment of public health. “Rep. Cody has led efforts toward improving health care … Continue reading

Legislative Update from Rep. Dawn Morrell

February 11, 2013 - toyrab

Legislative Update from Rep. Dawn Morrell

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be back down in Olympia fighting for 25th district families on the issues important to us. Believe it or not, we are already one month into the 2013 legislative session and I have much to bring you up-to-speed on! I was sworn-in back on January 14th and it’s been a whirlwind of committee meetings, constituent appointments, caucus meetings and floor action since. This session I serve as chair of the Appropriations … Continue reading

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-Newsletter for Feb 8, 2013

February 8, 2013 - nietol

Rep. Mary Helen Roberts’ e-Newsletter for Feb 8, 2013

Dear neighbors, It’s hard to believe we are already one month into the 2013 legislative session. Only 11 more weeks to go! The session follows a cut-off calendar, which determines the deadlines for public hearings and executive action on bills, as well as floor action in both the House and Senate. We are coming up on our first cut-off, February 22, which is the last day a policy bill can be considered in committee in its house of origin. Fiscal … Continue reading

Greetings From Olympia: A Message from Representative Marcus Riccelli

February 7, 2013 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

Greetings From Olympia: A Message from Representative Marcus Riccelli

Greetings! The past few weeks have flown by. I’ve been moving a mile a minute to keep up with the rapid pace of the legislature–meeting with constituents, serving on budget and policy committees, and working with my colleagues to craft and promote legislation that represents our community’s values. I have been working constructively across the aisle, and this week I was pleased to introduce a truly bi-partisan bill that will increase transparency in public infrastructure investments. Spotlight on Public Investment Each … Continue reading

Rep. Riccelli talks jobs on TVW’s “Inside Olympia”

February 1, 2013 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

Rep. Marcus Riccelli, the freshman representative from the 3rd Legislative District, was featured this week on TVW’s show “Inside Olympia.”  In the following two-minute clip, he talks about one of his top priorities for the 2013 session, which is job creation in the Spokane area. You can view the entire half-hour segment here.

“Age Wave” Bills Call the Alarm on the Need to Plan Now for Future Needs

February 1, 2013 - Rep. Steve Tharinger

“Age Wave” Bills Call the Alarm on the Need to Plan Now for Future Needs

A bi-partisan group of Senators and Representatives introduced a pair of bills to address the needs of Washington’s aging population. The so-called “Age Wave” bills, SB 5519 and HB 1631, would create a joint select committee on aging and disability issues. “This will be the defining demographic shift of the future,” said Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-24th). “We need to take meaningful steps to prepare so that our growing population of older people and people with disabilities have access to the … Continue reading

Strong support for Reproductive Parity Act in public hearing

January 31, 2013 - toyrab

On Thursday morning members of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee heard testimony from medical professionals, clergy and citizen-activists alike in favor of the Reproductive Parity Act. The Reproductive Parity Act would protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions by requiring insurance plans to offer full coverage for reproductive health. “Nothing is more personal or private than a woman’s freedom to make her own health care decisions,” said Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle), chair of … Continue reading

Rep. Morrell talks ACA, bipartisanship with Puyallup Herald

January 14, 2013 - mcvicara

Rep. Morrell talks ACA, bipartisanship with Puyallup Herald

Last week the Puyallup Herald interviewed Representative Dawn Morrell, along with her seatmates, on the upcoming legislative session. Rep. Morrell, who works as a registered nurse at Multicare Hospital in Puyallup, outlined her goals for implementing the federal Affordable Care Act here in Washington state. “I’m excited about doing good work, but I also realize the amount of work that is required,” Morrell said. “I’m encouraged that there will be some bipartisan work on this policy. I’m hoping the state … Continue reading

“Our caucus is organized and energized”

January 12, 2013 - Speaker Frank Chopp

<em>“Our caucus is organized and energized”</em>

Legislative leaders from each caucus spoke with reporters earlier this week during the annual Associated Press Legislative Preview. The leadership panel answered questions from reporters on several issues that will face the Legislature over the next 105 days. After opening his remarks by stating, “Our caucus is organized and energized,” Speaker Frank Chopp outlined the top five priorities for House Democrats this session: Support basic education Expand health care through the Affordable Care Act and the Basic Health Plan Strengthen … Continue reading

Rep. Cody: Moving forward on health care

June 28, 2012 - bergstromg

Statement by Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, Chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee “This is a good decision that means Washington state – and America – can keep moving forward on health reform. “The best part about this is now we can focus on lowering the cost of health care instead of backing up and trying to cover all people. This will help cover the uninsured, which is where we had to work so hard in the … Continue reading

Hasegawa introduces “Health Care for All” measure

April 10, 2012 - nietol

OLYMPIA— State Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle) introduced a measure (HB 2832) to extend access to quality health care services for all Washingtonians. He said the idea for this legislation came out of a small business roundtable he held before session began.  Small business owners expressed their growing concern over the impacts of health care costs and rising premiums, saying the costs of providing health insurance to their employees have significantly increased, and were their number one concern.  They identified this … Continue reading

Health reform bill goes to the governor

March 5, 2012 - bergstromg

March 5, 2012 OLYMPIA – A landmark piece of health care reform passed the House and Senate – and is now heading for the governor’s desk to be signed into law. “Passage of this legislation puts Washington in the forefront of health care reform,” said Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle). “Health coverage for all has been a value of our state for years. So we have historically been in the lead – whether it’s covering all kids, establishing the Basic … Continue reading

Rep. Liias Washington White Board: Affordable Healthcare Act

January 26, 2012 - mcvicara

Op-ed: Washington must confront public-health challenge of childhood trauma

July 24, 2011 - waldrefj

Op-ed: Washington must confront public-health challenge of childhood trauma

Washington must confront public-health challenge of childhood trauma By Rep. Ruth Kagi A NEW study by the Trust for America’s Health reveals Washington is one of 10 states in which the obesity rate has increased 90 percent within the past 15 years. That we’ve almost doubled the rate in less than two decades is startling. What is equally worrisome is that obesity isn’t only increasing among adults, but among children as well. Two recent Seattle Times articles discuss the state’s … Continue reading

Health insurance rate secrecy to end, Legislature decides

April 7, 2011 - waldrefj

OLYMPIA – The Senate this afternoon overwhelmingly passed a bill that increases the transparency of health insurance rate hikes. It now goes to the House of Representatives, which originally approved it on March 4, for concurrence and then to the governor, who is expected to sign the measure into law. “Consumers have now won some control over one of their biggest monthly expenses,” said Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, the sponsor of House Bill 1220. “They need to know why … Continue reading

Video: Jinkins on clean water, public health

April 7, 2011 - waldrefj

On April 7, 2011, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, spoke on the House floor in support of Senate Bill 5364, dealing with public water systems to ensure safe drinking water. Jinkins sponsored the House companion bill, HB 1468.

Several Jinkins bills survive latest legislative deadline

April 6, 2011 - waldrefj

Health care the focus of her legislative efforts OLYMPIA – As an incoming freshman legislator, Rep. Laurie Jinkins figured her first legislative session would be filled mostly with issue briefings and learning experiences. But now with less than three weeks left in the regular session, the Tacoma Democrat has not only learned the ropes of the House, but she has also advanced several pieces of legislation. One bill has been signed by the governor, three are on the governor’s desk … Continue reading

Reps. Hudgins and Van De Wege fight for a prescription drug takeback program

March 14, 2011 - mcvicara

House approves bill to end health insurance rate secrecy

March 4, 2011 - waldrefj

OLYMPIA – For consumers scratching their heads as to why their health insurance premiums skyrocket every year—in some cases by double digits—the House of Representatives approved a bill today to increase transparency. “Our health insurance choices affect our physical and financial health in profound ways, yet consumers are in the dark. We see our premiums skyrocketing every year, but we have no idea why,” said Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, the bill’s sponsor. “With this bill, consumers will have a … Continue reading

House approves two Jinkins health care bills

February 14, 2011 - waldrefj

OLYMPIA – The House of Representatives today voted strongly in favor of two health care bills sponsored by Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, sending them to the Senate for further consideration. Approved with votes of 93-0 and 93-1, House Bill 1488 and HB 1304, respectively, are the first pieces of legislation to pass for Jinkins, who is one month into her first term. “These aren’t high-profile or controversial bills, but they’re important in clarifying health care laws and making systems run … Continue reading

Health concerns prompt bill to establish safeguards for tanning

February 10, 2011 - waldrefj

Darneille introduces legislation to license tanning facilities, an industry currently unregulated despite tanning’s categorization as carcinogenic to humans OLYMPIA — This morning a committee in the state House of Representatives will hear a bill that would for the first time establish safeguards for tanning facilities and restrict the use of such facilities by minors. Despite the known health risks of indoor tanning, the industry is not regulated at all today. Rep. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, is sponsoring the legislation and will … Continue reading

New law by Rep. Eileen Cody would ban flavored tobacco aimed at kids

February 1, 2011 - bergstromg

OLYMIA — Most people who start smoking do it when they’re underage, and flavored tobacco is aimed directly at kids. That’s why Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle) wrote legislation to stop the sale of such products and reform how tobacco is sold in this state. “Forty-five kids a day start smoking in Washington state,” said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. “About seventy-five people a day die of tobacco-related diseases.” Selecky testified in favor of House Bill 1246, which would ban … Continue reading

Rep. Jinkins starts legislative session in key health care, transportation roles

January 14, 2011 - waldrefj

After being sworn-in on Monday, the 27th District’s newest legislator wraps up session’s busy first week OLYMPIA – As the 2011 Legislative Session opened this week, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, continued her long career as a health care leader, earning a key leadership position as vice-chair of the Health Care & Wellness Committee, in addition to serving as a member of the Capital Budget, Transportation, and Environment Committees in the House of Representatives. With these committee assignments, her own policy … Continue reading