2016 legislative session | Vance on healthcare |The “why” of transformation”

September starts our conference season with events in Spokane and Portland. In October, we host an event in Anchorage. Our inaugural LA event kicks off November 6th. We also have three more events in the new year in Seattle, San Diego and Sacramento. So, it’s a busy time at State of Reform!

So, what we are watching is colored to a degree by what we’re working on, ie: events. But I think there are some nuggets here to track in the months ahead.

DJ 5 Things Signature

1. A potentially very active session in 2016

The 2014 legislative session was a big one for health care in Washington State.  Integration, ACHs, all payer claims database – there was a lot going on. By contrast, 2015 was much slower, with exchange funding being most prominent.

However, with the 1115 waiver submission, some legislators are growing concerned that the state agencies are encountering some “scope creep” beyond the initial vision of HB 2572 and SB 6312 from 2014. That sets up for a potentially very active discussion in the 2016 legislature.

And, it turns out we have three panels at our Spokane event next Tuesday talking about this very issue: where the legislative policy discussion is heading.

2. The “why” of Medicaid transformation

The HCA released a video explaining the driving rationale behind changing health care in Washington State. It’s a powerful set of stories and perspectives as told by some of the leading voices in health care in our state. It’s worth a watch.

As part of it, Joe Roszak from Kitsap County Mental Health Services tells the story of the 20-something who, due to the lack of care coordination, died from pneumonia. It’s a tremendously touching moment.



3. Inland NW conference next week

With one week to go, we are looking forward to hosting you in Spokane! Last week, we released the list of organizations which will be there with us. It’s an impressive list. And, watching to see how the hallway conversation shapes up is always a fun part of the event. Each year, we see new contracts, alliances, and sometimes mergers take shape from the discussion and networking there. So, we’re keeping our eye on how some of that will develop next week.

But, what goes on in Spokane usually stays in Spokane! Meaning, you’ll have to attend in order to get the presentations, hear the hallway chatter and get the full experience. We’ll have some snippets, like this video from last year, but for the most part, you have to join us to get the full effect of having all of these leaders in a room together in one place!

4. Vance vs Murray, and healthcare in play

Former Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance announced his candidacy for the US Senate this week. His messaging aims for centrism, is anti-establishment, and focused on fiscal issues. Vance will be a serious candidate, despite what some might say. He has built a large network of donors, of party activists, and media relationships.

He also spends some time on health care, with a thoughtful statement on his “alternative” approach to reform. What stood out to us though is how hard it must be to nuance this issue politically.

Vance appears to support full repeal of the ACA, including some (maybe all) of the consumer protections in place. But he is also clear that government should help provide coverage to those which can’t afford it, citing Sen. Cantwell’s Federal Basic Health Plan model as an example.


5. Some key open positions in health policy

We have mothballed our job board these last few months in anticipation of relaunching our new site in January. However, we can’t help be keep our eye on how some of these key health policy jobs will get filled.

SEIU 775 has big shoes to fill in their policy position with the departure of Misha Werschkul. Likewise, Kat Latet’s departure to CHPW leaves a significant hole at the HCA they are trying to fill.