5 Things Washington: Q&A w/Sen. Patty Kuderer, Detailed Agenda, Medicaid buy-in bill


Emily Boerger


The data remains clear that getting vaccinated is the most important thing you can do to avoid COVID. It’s also clear that if you’re vaccinated, you’re extraordinarily unlikely to get a breakthrough case, and that you’re very well protected.

Sure, you should still be smart about your behavior. Yes, there is some variation in vaccine efficacy. But, please also protect your mental health. Don’t let the anxiety from headlines, back to school, or new mask mandates needlessly weigh you down. Be grounded in the data. And take care of yourself.





With help from Emily Boerger

1. Q&A: Sen. Patty Kuderer on bills for 2022

Sen. Patty Kuderer is the Chair of the Senate Housing & Local Government Committee. In this Q&A, Kuderer talks through some of the bills she is preparing for the 2022 legislative session, where she says housing affordability and the production of new housing will be at the top of her priority list.

“Right now, in terms of inventory, it’s estimated that we’re anywhere from 225,000 to 350,000 units behind in terms of development for the needs that we have.” She says she’s planning to bring forward legislation next year that would create a “housing registry” that would offer a point-in-time count of rental units available. She also discusses the idea of a “housing court” and condo liability reforms informed by the collapse in Florida.


2. ICYMI: Detailed Agenda now posted

In case you missed it, on Wednesday we released our Detailed Agenda for the 2021 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference. We’ve got a very strong lineup of over 60 speakers that we are excited to bring together on September 9th for one of the largest, most diverse convenings of senior health care executives and policy leaders in the state.

Be sure to also check out the Topical Agenda 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!


3. How health care and the community are aligning around SDOH

At the conference next month, we are very much looking forward to hosting a panel conversation on how health care and the community are aligning around the social determinants of health. The panel will discuss the intersection between the delivery system and community, while offering lessons learned from the work to connect the two.

Joining this panel will be Vanetta Abdellatif, CEO of Arcora Foundation, Jennifer Polello, Senior Director of Quality and Population Health at CHPW, Andrea Davis, VP of Government Relations and Communications at Coordinated Care, and Julie Distel, State Network Director at Unite Us. Be sure to bring your questions to this can’t-miss conversation!

4. Hospitalizations increasing, breakthrough cases remain low

A series of new mandates – including Gov. Inslee’s vaccination mandate and Snohomish County’s reinstituted masking directive – have come through this week as data from the CDC indicates high community transmission in nearly every county in the state. As of Wednesday, approximately 19% of ICU beds in Washington are occupied by a COVID-19 patient.

IHME’s latest projections predict hospital beds generally, and ICU beds specifically, will be under “moderate stress” during the fall, but that ICU capacity may be under “high stress” by winter. Breakthrough cases, however, remain low with 5,879 identified cases (or 0.14%) of the 4.1 million fully vaccinated individuals in Washington over the last 6 months. This percentage is rising a bit, however, up from 0.08% in recent weeks. It may be a combination of Delta, waning vaccine efficacy, riskier behavior, or a mix of the above. But, it’s still a very small number.

5. Schrier leading on federal public option bill

US Rep. Kim Schrier this week introduced the “State Public Option Act,” which would allow states to create a Medicaid buy-in program where all residents, regardless of income, would have the option to purchase a Medicaid health insurance plan. US Senators Brian Schatz (HI) and Ben Ray Luján (NM) joined Schrier in introducing the legislation.

The legislation would provide states with a 90% increased FMAP match for administrative expenses associated with the buy-in, make permanent the ACA’s primary care payment increase to Medicare levels for more primary care providers, incentivize states to expand Medicaid, and require states to include coverage of comprehensive reproductive health services in their buy-in plans.