What is Whole Washington? And should we support it?

February 18, 2019 by stephenshubert





• This was previously known as I-1600 which did not get enough signatures for the 2018 ballot, but now it is known as the following pieces of legislation in Washington – HB 1877 and SB 5822 and also HB 1104. Currently the Healthcare For All (HCFA-WA) officially supports SB 5822.
• Is an extremely detailed and well thought out proposal and long-term strategy and plan for creating a healthcare solution whose goal is to create a public option and before that a single payer solution for Washington state residents. Until recently the proposals being debated within the legislature have been like HB 1523 / SB 5526 which are focused on bolstering the private insurance options. HCFA-WA does not have a position on HB 1523 or SB 5526.
• The bills in the legislature no longer have an income tax provision, as that would introduce risk to any bills because the constitutionality of an income tax is still being validated in the Washington state court system. Despite the lengthy 70+ year long process in the courts that has nullified much of the legal case against an income tax, it was determined that this is not the time or place to risk the success of such an important piece of legislation.
• Based on my observations with I-1600 and the current bills in the legislature, we need to help this organization get the grassroots campaign going or it will not succeed. They have the right ideas and the people needed to keep the strategy intact, but it needs a base of people across the state to continue to drive this work as it evolves and morphs into something that will become law.

The details of what is currently going on in the Washington State legislature: https://www.healthcareforallwa.org/2019_health_care_bills_in_the_legislature

Event coming up on Tuesday February 19 and what you can do right now to support it:

In my exchange with Georgia Davenport of Whole Washington, she made it clear that someone from the organization would love to engage in a question and answer session with the people of San Juan County – be it a video conference session or an in-person “Town Hall” type of meeting. Maybe we should reach out to her and take her up on this offer.
From Learner Limbach
I support Senate Bill 5222 the Whole Washington State Universal Healthcare Bill
Single-payer costs less overall money for better care, and covers everyone.
How is it paid for? 1% uniform tax on income over $15,000 and an 8.5% employer payroll tax, with an exemption on the first $12,000 per employee.
Impact on individuals:
Washingtonians earning a state average wage of $61,900/year will pay $469 in income tax as a result of this program. This small cost will get the average person better coverage with full vision and dental, no co-pays, and no deductibles.
Impact on businesses:
As the General Manager of a business that employs 35 people year-round, I have crunched the numbers. Our cost to provide a silver healthcare to every one of our employees right now would be around $210,000/year (roughly $500 per employee per month). Those plans would still leave employees with deductibles of $1,000 or more and have other limitations. Our current total gross wages are $656,000. With the exemption on the first $12,000 for each employee we would only end up paying the 8.5% payroll tax on about $350,000. Therefore, the total cost to our business would be less than $30,000, a fraction of the cost under our current system.

Feedback from Georgia Davenport of Whole Washington
The income tax was in I-1600. Actually under the new bill, because of feedback from our volunteers, the department of revenue and employment security department, it’s an additional payroll tax of 2% that either the employer or the employee can pay. The reason we can’t do progressive taxation is because our constitution says taxes must be uniform. It’s a bummer. But we made the premium progressive.

And yes, many other states have bills they are trying to pass. Canada passed universal healthcare province by province.

We also are supporting the national Medicare-for-All bills.

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