5 Things Washington: Primary results, Quality scores report, Rep. Nicole Macri

A big thank you to the Empire Health Foundation and Amerigroup of Washington for being Event Sponsors at our 2020 Inland NW State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference coming up on Sept. 23-24! This is a tricky time for us all, so their ongoing support is meaningful and appreciated very much.

Major Sponsors include Beacon Health Options, Genentech, Molina Healthcare of Washington and Coordinated Care, a diversity of health care organizations that we’re so proud to have with us. And, we’d love to have you register to be with us! You won’t have to commute to Spokane, either from the Spokane Valley or from Olympia!





With help from Emily Boerger

1. Our Topical Agenda is now available!

We are excited to announce the release of our Topical Agenda for the 2020 Inland Northwest State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference on September 23rd-24th! Our agenda is built with input from stakeholders across all silos in the Washington health care system. And this year, based on those conversations, we’ve decided the virtual convening will take place over the course of two days.

During the conference we’ll explore politics and policy in health care, discuss the future of Medicaid, and dive deep into COVID’s impact on the economy, tele-health, and our approach to public health. You can view the Topical Agenda for Day 1 here and Day 2 here for a sense of the conversations we have teed up, and if you have suggestions for speakers let us know! If you haven’t already registered, we’d be honored to have you join us!


2. The results from this primary just don’t fit the narrative of 2020

The results from this year’s primary simply don’t fit the narrative of a big, “blue wave” in 2020. That may still happen come November. And, I think November will see a somewhat different electorate than in August. But, these primary results were not just contrary to the narrative. They were bad for Democrats.

If we take the results at face value, Democrats may give back a seat in the Senate and one in the House. They risk losing the 8th congressional, appear to have only a very long shot in the 3rd, and could lose the OSPI.

One reason this might be the case is the lack of a competitive US Senate race, race for governor, or presidential campaign. The infrastructure for the “Coordinated Campaign” during these races, funded by labor, becomes an impressive and comprehensive field and GOTV effort for Democrats. That will be “thin” this year, I’m told. In spite of the opposition to President Trump, where the 26% gap makes Washington’s electoral votes pre-ordained, 2020 may be the first campaign without a clear, compelling top-of-the-ticket race to mobilize Dems in a presidential year since 1948.

3. Results from Lt. Governor and Insurance Commissioner primaries

In the Lt. Governor’s race, two Democrats will advance to the general election: Congressman Denny Heck and State Senator Marko Liias. Heck’s underwhelming 25.4% of the primary vote (still more than Liias’s 18.3%) may signal voters likely don’t have much knowledge of either candidate yet. So, expect some wedge issues to potentially surface, and if they do, we may see a tight race come fall.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has received 1.3 million votes thus far, more than any candidate across any statewide race. While there was much more vote splitting occurring in other statewide races, Kreidler still doubled Republican Chirayu Avinash Patel’s share of the vote. Making the case to voters for a sixth term in office, Kreidler has touted his support for the ACA, which he said lowered Washington’s uninsured rate down to about 5% from 14% before the ACA was in place.

4.  Video: Rep. Nicole Macri

Rep. Nicole Macri represents Washington’s 43rd Legislative District in Seattle. She serves as Vice Chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and is also a member of the Appropriations and Finance Committees. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss building a homeless response system. These remarks were recorded before the COVID-19 outbreak during our January conference in Seattle.

“We have to deal with the affordability challenges as we work on the fact that the people who are going to be most impacted by homelessness are the people who have other challenges in their life…So, we’re going to have to build a homeless response system that not only deals with the long-term stabilizing services we need – like supportive housing or affordable housing and more robust behavioral health services – but on the immediate crisis response.”


5. ACH and County quality scores report

Washington Health Alliance last week announced the use of a new quality composite score to compare medical care quality in Washington State. The composite score combines up to 29 measures from WHA’s Community Checkup Reports which measure the quality of care delivered to Medicaid and commercially-insured in the state.

WHA’s first report utilizing the new quality composite score evaluates the quality of care by county and by individual ACHs. For the Medicaid-insured population, Greater Columbia ACH was the top performer. For commercial, HealthierHere ranked highest. Our rundown of the recent findings is available here.