Ending the Year with Meetings, Celebrating Successes, and Last Call to Share Your Experience with Medical Debt

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It’s that time of year when I start thinking about my return to Olympia next month and the short, 60-day session lawmakers have in front of us. Short sessions usually mean fewer bills and small supplemental budgets, but I’m still focused on big policy changes that can make the difference to families that are struggling out there. From medical debt and health care access to free school meals, I know there are a lot of ways the Legislature can help families thrive. I look forward to sharing my efforts in those areas in the next few months.

At the beginning of the month, I went to Olympia for Committee Assembly Days, a time for the legislative committees to meet and discuss some of the priorities and work done over the interim. I spent much of my time discussing health care affordability and access, behavioral health, workforce needs, and ways we can address toxic drug poisonings from fentanyl and opioids in our communities.

Below, I’ve highlighted some of the work I’ve been doing as we head into the holidays. I always enjoy working with community leaders to find solutions to problems. And I love hearing from my constituents about the ideas they have, so please reach out to my office or send me an email.

Discussions on priorities with local elected officials and health care experts

Before heading to Olympia in January, I like to connect with our local elected officials to get their perspective on what should be a priority for the Legislature. This past week, I met with the Spokane City Council  to hear more about what policies and projects they want to see passed this year.

One of the biggest issues we can address is the need for affordable housing, particularly downtown. We also have to continue our investments in behavioral health facilities and workforce, which directly translates into getting people the care they need. Both of these issues are ones I’ll be working on with my colleagues in the coming months and I plan to talk more about some of the policy options soon that I believe can have a real impact.

I also recently joined a panel of policy leaders at a health care conference in Tacoma. Focusing on access and affordability of care is a top priority for mine as chair of the Health Care & Wellness Committee and it’s no surprise that it’s a concern for many others as well. Recently, the Seattle Times published an article talking about the ways that hospital mergers and acquisitions can lead to increased costs to families. As people try to figure out how to make ends meet with increased costs across the board, it’s a punch to the gut when health care costs continue to rise without a clear reason. That lack of transparency and enforcement of cost-saving options continue to hurt our ability to keep cost increases low. We have to do better and I’ll continue to push for access, affordability, and transparency in this coming session.

Celebrating Successes

As a legislator, I find passing a life-changing bill or getting funding for a critical local project an important part of the job. But you’re never done because there is always another person or family that needs your help, and so it’s on to the next bill, the next project, or the next budget investment to help move our community forward.

I’ll never stop working to help people in our community, and that’s why I was extremely honored to receive several recognitions this year for my legislative work: the Children’s Alliance 2023 Champion for Children, the Washington Dental Hygienists Partner in Oral Health and I was named a Food Lifeline Legislative Champion. Stopping to celebrate these successes is a great reminder of the good work that can get done when we work together, listen to all sides, and find solutions that put people first.


LAST CALL: Share your experiences with medical debt

Last month I sent out a link to a survey about medical debt – I’m working on legislation to help ease the burden for Washington families. Learning more about how medical debt impacts our constituents will help me as I draft legislation. The results of the survey are anonymous and you won’t have to answer any question that requires personal details.

It is my honor to serve you!




Rep. Marcus Riccelli