What They’re Watching: Lynnette Vehrs, RN, Washington State Nurses Association

Lynnette Vehrs, MN, RN, is the President of the Washington State Nurses Association. She is also a member of the Health Care Authority’s Universal Health Care Work Group. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss universal health coverage. These remarks were recorded before the COVID-19 outbreak during our January conference in Seattle.


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“As a registered nurse I have been passionate about getting universal health care. I have found in my practice that it is just heartbreaking when we’ve had denials from insurance companies controlling our practice and controlling the practice of the physicians that have ordered particular treatments. And I just don’t think it’s fair. I find it an injustice. I have seen bad, bad outcomes for patients and so I think we need a more just and equitable way of reimbursement.

I happen to come from the premise that health care is a right. We are a very successful developed country. There’s no way the United States should be allowing people to die every day because they didn’t have the insurance. Actually, I’ve been working on this for about 10 years and I’m really excited that I have been chosen out of one of 33 people to be on the task force with universal health care work group that the state of Washington just pulled together after the last session. They put in about five hundred thousand dollars to get a group together of not only those of us that are volunteering, but also consultants that are really good in accounting, health policy, other insurance companies. And it’s really come from a wide variety of people through different backgrounds that are truly getting together trying to figure out first what is the problem, why is that a problem, and later we’ll find out how to solve it.”