Rep. Wylie’s Newsletter: Green Transportation Bill / Medical Debt / Surprise Hospital Bills / Long-Term Care

Bold Green Transportation Legislation

How will Washington state lead the way when it comes to new technology and ideas for a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system?

In the Transportation Committee we have been working on a bill that includes major reforms to move away from the costs and pollution of fossil fuels and toward cleaner technology, including:

  • Making electric vehicles more affordable and accessible for everyone.
  • Increasing the network of electric car chargers across the state.
  • Helping transit agencies transition to electric buses.
  • Solving the last-mile problem in mass transit, to get you from a ferry terminal, bus stop or train station to your final destination.
  • Enhancing efforts to get cars off the road through increased carpooling, vanpooling, telecommuting, walking, biking, or taking mass transit instead of driving alone to work every day.

Click on the image below to Watch Rep. Jake Fey, Chair of the Transportation Committee, talk about our ambitious plan to go green:

green transpo

This legislation works hand-in-glove with clean fuel and electricity reforms moving through the House Environment & Energy Committee.

Our goal is to keep Washington state a world leader on new ideas in clean technology, and to leave our children with a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system.

Protecting people’s health AND finances

Medical debt is the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. One of the biggest problems with medical debt is that people often have no idea how much debt they are accumulating until they are already in a deep hole.


You wouldn’t hand over your credit card to be swiped in a store without knowing the total price of what you’re buying. But that’s pretty much what we’re required to do in order to get medical treatment. And with pre-judgment interest, you can be charged interest from the moment you walk in a provider’s office and have your first visit.

I am supporting HB 1531 aimed at solving this serious problem.

This bill addresses pre-judgment interest, and would ensure debt collection agencies could not report medical debt to credit reporting agencies for 120 days.  The bill would also require notifying people that they can apply for charity care, because many of those who qualify don’t even know it is an option and end up with medical debt they shouldn’t even have had to pay.

Ending “surprise” hospital bills

Have you ever visited an emergency room, provided your insurance information and paid your co-pay, only to find a bill mailed out weeks or even months later?

You may have seen a story in the news such as this one, where a LaCenter mother received an $112,000 bill after the hospital assured her that her visit was in-network.

These surprise bills cause stress and create a serious financial burden. The practice is known as “balanced billing” and like me, you likely agree that it should get fixed.

What usually happens is you visit a hospital that is in your network, but the doctor you see happens to be visiting or filling in, and is not in your network. So you get stuck with a much higher bill than you anticipated. I talk a little bit about this issue in my most recent Ask Sharon video, click on the image below to watch it.

Ask Sharon screen grab

I am one of the sponsors of a measure to get patients and their families out of the middle of the tug of war between hospitals and insurance companies. HB 1065 would fix balanced billing, especially for emergency room visits where the last thing you need to worry about is whether the doctor treating you is covered by your insurance.

Everyone ages. How will you pay for long-term care?

As we age, many of us will need help with daily activities like getting to the grocery store or doctors’ appointments, or cooking and cleaning around the house.

While some people may have the resources to take care of an aging parent, for most families in Washington it’s a significant burden. The out-of-pocket costs can be very expensive. That’s why I am supporting the Long Term Care Trust Act, which creates a social insurance program to help with those costs. It gives families a little breathing room as they take care of their loved ones. This investment in our elders and ourselves brings peace of mind by ensuring all Washington families can get the care they need in their golden years.

Thank you for reading my newsletter.  If you’d like more information on any of these topics, or you want to give me some feedback, please contact my office.


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