State Level Policy and Advocacy
WACMHC partners with the Community Health Network of Washington on state policy and advocacy to help increase access to health insurance and health care.
2013 Legislative Agenda
During this legislative session, WACMHC will be focusing advocacy efforts on two primary legislative priorities: Securing the Full Medicaid Expansion to 138% FPL and raising revenue to protect existing health care Safety Net Programs. To learn more about these priorities:
Secure the Medicaid Expansion
The Medicaid expansion is projected to save $225 million in state funds in the next biennium while generating nearly a billion dollars in federal funds. Adopting the expansion is not only a fiscal winner for the state, but fully expanding Medicaid to 138% of federal poverty (about $32,000 per year for a family of four) ensures health care coverage for over 250,000 more low-income Washingtonians. The expansion will bring access to preventive health care services—reducing the burden on emergency rooms and keeping our communities healthier, secure and productive. Communities across the state will benefit from this expansion, and Eastern and rural areas of the state will realize the greatest benefit because of the high prevalence of newly eligible individuals residing in those areas.
Protect Existing Health Care Safety Net Programs
For the past several years, state budget deficits have put critical safety net programs repeatedly at risk. Although the 2012 budget maintained funding, deep cuts to essential programs in previous years have taken a toll on people across the state. Many community health centers have struggled to keep their doors open after years of deep cuts to essential public programs and Medicaid reimbursement rates.
Investing the savings from Medicaid expansion and the hospital safety net assessment extension to offset further cuts to the safety net ensures that all of these essential programs will continue. It will protect Basic Health and Disability Lifeline for the final six months of 2013 before most of the enrollees transition into the Medicaid expansion—protecting over 40,000 people from a dangerous gap in health care coverage. The health care savings also preserves our successful Apple Health for Kids program, services for high-risk pregnant women, preventive dental care services for select vulnerable Medicaid enrollees and the recently modified interpreter services.
The community health center system is committed to meeting the expanding need for primary care in 2014 by leveraging the Medicaid expansion and existing safety net programs. We are ready to continue to partner with the state to ensure that communities receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place and in a proven cost-effective manner