Legislative update on health care and the 2023 session

Dear neighbors, 

We’re tackling many issues this year in the House of Representatives, including health care, housing, economic development, and natural resources. 

This time, I’d like to give you a quick look at major health legislation. 

Improving health care  

I know how important good health is to you and all the people of the 24th District—it’s always one of the top issues when people talk to me. 

As a longtime member of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, I’m working on a variety of reforms to expand access to health care without sacrificing the quality of health care. 

Some legislation is still being drafted, but I can tell you a bit about reforms that I’m writing or supporting. 

We are working on legislation expanding the scope of practice to let providers offer more services, including legislation allowing physical therapists to perform needling (House Bill 1039) and expanding the the services medical assistants can provide while clarifying the testing procedures (House Bill 1073).

House Bill 1452 will create a medical reserve corps to help with emergency response. 

Additionally, I’ve introduced House Bill 1571 to Improve nursing home rates, as we are in desperate need of more affordable nursing home care. This could also help part of the problem facing our hospitals in terms of beds being filled with patients who should be discharged. Many of those patients are simply waiting for long-term care beds to open up. 

How you can participate in your democracy 

You no longer need to spend the day driving to Olympia and back if you want to testify in committee, meet your lawmakers, or watch debates and votes on the House floor. 

During the pandemic years, we vastly expanded your options to watch, learn, share your thoughts, and testify. I’m encourage by the skyrocketing numbers of people signing up to testify on legislation, especially from rural areas like the 24th District. 

Keep in touch 

Please take a moment to share your stories, questions, or ideas.

You can reach me by email (steve.tharinger@leg.wa.gov), regular mail, and the toll-free Hotline (800-562-6000). 

I hope to hear from you soon!