5 Things Washington: Detailed Agenda, Committee Days, Election polling

In two weeks time, we’ll be hosting our 2020 Inland NW State of Reform Health Policy Conference. In the pre-COVID space, this was an event that was focused on Eastern Washington. However, in this time of COVID, this event has taken on the feel of a statewide event – with speakers from across geography, demography and, of course, political ideology!

So, we’d be honored to have you register to be with us. Don’t expect a handful of Zoom meetings. We’ve built a unique platform that will allow folks to foster community, collaboration, and conversation in an experience that we think meets this COVID moment we’re all in together.





With help from Emily Boerger

1. Detailed Agenda now available!

We are excited to announce the release of our Detailed Agendas for the 2020 Inland Northwest State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference! We’ve got a very strong lineup of over 80 speakers that we are excited to bring together on Sept. 23-24. You can view the Detailed Agenda for Day 1 here and Day 2 here.

Be sure to also check out the Topical Agendas to get a feel for the day, and take a look at our Convening Panel to see some of the folks who helped put the agenda together. If you haven’t registered to be with us yet, we’d be honored to have you join us!

2. New models of care delivery borne from the pandemic

The pandemic is changing us in meaningful ways. So, how is care changing as a result? Is the site of care shifting? Are our expectations of the system different now? Are we savvier shoppers or perhaps just more scared? A panel of experts will take up these questions and more during our “New models of care delivery borne from the pandemic” panel at the 2020 INW State of Reform Conference.

This panel will take place on Sept. 23 at 11am and will feature Kyle Downey, PharmD, Medical Affairs Executive Director at Genentech, and Frances Gough, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Molina Healthcare. Also joining the conversation will be David O’Brien, MD, Senior Vice President & Chief Executive, East Region at MultiCare Health System.

3. Committee Assembly Days schedule is up

The schedule for Committee Assembly Days in the House has been posted. Every fall, legislators meet in Olympia for interim briefings with staff. This meeting of committees in-between legislative sessions gives us the opportunity to hear important upcoming topics before session begins in January.

This year, Committee Assembly Days will take place from September 14-30. All meetings are being conducted virtually and can be viewed on TVW. Just a few of the meetings on our radar include the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee on 9/17 for an update on COVID modeling and health equity, though most of the Senate committees will be meeting later this year. The House Health Care & Wellness Committee convenes on 9/28 for the latest on COVID-19 and the rural health care system.


4. Wiesman update on vaccines

In a weekly briefing last week, Secretary of Health John Wiesman provided an update on Washington State’s preparation for a COVID-19 vaccine. He stressed that while he fully expects vaccine candidates to complete Phase 3 clinical trials (unless an independent board says otherwise), the state is still currently preparing for the early November date outlined by the CDC.

“We’re planning towards that date so that no matter when a vaccine actually ends up being available, that we will be ready for that,” said Wiesman. “We need to assure the quality, safety, and effectiveness of these vaccines and we want to distribute them only when it’s safe to do so.” We are very much looking forward to discussing this topic, along with a broader conversation on the future of public health in Washington, during our Morning Keynote with Wiesman at the State of Reform Conference on the 23rd.

5. Putting summertime election polling in context

FiveThirtyEight’s latest average national polling shows Vice President Joe Biden with about a 7.5 point advantage over President Trump. But if we look back at presidential elections over the past 40 years, a lot can change between August polling and election day results. Remember when that July 1988 Gallup poll showed Michael Dukakis with a 17 point lead over George H.W. Bush? Jimmy Carter was ahead in August in 1980. Hilary Clinton was ahead in August in 2016.

The point is that things will move in this election quite a bit in the next 54 days between now and the election. One pollster recently estimated that about 10 percent of voters are likely undecided. Moreover, some Trump-friendly demographics are difficult to reach and there aren’t enough large sample, quality polls that succeed in including these voters. This creates quite a bit of volatility in the models as things as we look ahead to the next nine weeks.