Letter to the editor: ‘Yes’ vote on I-1362

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The 20th Legislative District Democrats voted to endorse Initiative 1362 (I-1362).

Did you know in 1912, Washington became one of the first states to adopt the initiative and referendum process? The initiative process gives direct power to Washington voters and is meant to empower citizens to take an active role proposing, amending, or repealing new legislation. Washington voters have successfully passed initiatives to increase the state minimum wage, enact state-level campaign finance reform, legalize/tax/regulate marijuana sales, and improve police accountability regarding use of force. Today we go after our health care, because insurance is not health care.

Health care continues to be a top concern of most voters in Washington state, regardless of party preference. Prior to the pandemic, 522,000 Washingtonians were without coverage. Those with “good” insurance still experience gaps in necessary coverage like dental, vision, and mental health care services as well as arbitrary “out of network” costs and a pattern of claim payment denial — resulting in huge bills and surprise costs. The financial burden of our current insurance system leads to delayed health care, rationed medications, unnecessary hospitalizations, premature death, bankruptcy and/or desperate turns to social media crowd-sourcing platforms like GoFundMe to pay medical bills. This is not dignified, nor sustainable. Today, as voters, we take this situation into our own hands, because we are the leaders we’ve been waiting for.

Comprehensive, truly affordable, quality health care is critical. I-1362 includes a fully-funded transition plan, allows Washingtonians the choice to opt in, allows for negotiation of drug prices, and includes much needed cost capitations and out of pocket maximums that are truly affordable (e.g. $200/month premiums and $250/year for medications.) I-1362 will improve the overall health and wellness of Washingtonians and save billions of state and taxpayer dollars. I-1362 is not more insurance, it is health care.

Today we, the 20th Legislative District Democrats, announce our endorsement of I-1362 and ask you to look for signature gatherers and sign the petition. If you’re interested in getting more involved and/or supporting signature gathering efforts, you can find more information at wholewashington.org.

In November, after we are successful in gathering the more than 400,000 signatures required to get on the ballot, we will be asking for your “yes” vote on I-1362.

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