Letter to Gov. Inslee on COVID-19 and Medical Bankruptcy

May 4, 2020

Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Subject: Ending COVID-19 medical bankruptcy for the underinsured and uninsured in Washington

Dear Gov. Inslee:

Thank you for your leadership during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Your early actions for social distancing have saved countless lives. 

As individuals and leaders of organizations in business, civil society and labor, we are writing to encourage you to sign an executive order to guarantee Washington state will pay any COVID-19 related medical bills for any underinsured or uninsured Washingtonian who do not receive federal assistance from the CARES Actso they will not face possible bankruptcy for seeking medical treatment related to COVID-19.

Even before the pandemic, 500,000 people in our state lacked health insurance coverage, and 40 percent of people were covered under private plans. With COVID-19 causing an economic crisis with businesses closing and workers furloughed, the newly unemployed will be at serious risk of losing access to health care. People needing access to paid health care becomes paramount during a pandemic from a public health perspective and a person’s long-term financial security.

It is well-recognized that the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US is unexpected bills due to a medical crisis. Most Americans do not have even $500 in emergency reserves to cover an unexpected medical expense. As a country we stand alone in the world where someone could face financial ruin for contracting COVID-19. While you have committed to free testing, we feel this action does not go far enough to protect businesses and the working people of Washington financially over the long-term. Washington needs to act because: the allocation of federal money paying for COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured does not cover the underinsured; the state should utilize its relief funds if the federal CARES allocation falls short; develop a mechanism to enforce the no balance billing protection of CARES and plan to effectively communicate free testing and COVID-19 care to Washington residents.

As discussions start about reopening business activity, business owners and workers returning to work need the health and safety security of knowing all people in Washington can seek medical attention for COVID-19. This will also give added confidence to public interactions for economic activity. You can ensure this by signing an executive order guaranteeing Washington state will pay the medical bills for those who are underinsured or uninsured.

We support guaranteeing Washington state will pay the medical bills for those who are underinsured or uninsured    

Civil Society and Labor

Name                                                 Organization                              

Mike Andrew, Executive Director PSARA                                           

John Burbank, President                 EOI                                               

Larry Brown, President                    WSLC                                             

Art Clemens, President                   CWA Local 7800                        

Adam Glickman, Vice President     SEIU 775                        

Jeff Ketchel, Executive Director Washington State Public Health Association              

David Loud/Nathan Rodke, Chairs Health Care Human Right-WA  

Erik Nelson, Vice President United Farm Workers

Tawfik Maudah/Margaret Carey   MLK County Working Families Party      

Zach Silk, President                          Civic Ventures                            

Rich Stolz, Executive Director         One America                                

Business and Individuals                                                                     

Name                                                 Affiliation                                   

Liz Banse                                            Individual                                      

Marcus Courtney, Principal            Courtney Public Affairs             

Glenn Scott Davis, President          Progressive Workforce Strategies           

Gaye Detzer                                      Vashon Indivisible                       

David Ehrenberg, CEO & Founder Early Growth                              

Tye Ferrell, Principal                        Resilience Collaborative NW   

Troy Finlayson, CEO                         Luxury Home Magazine              

Dennis Flannigan                              Former WA Rep. Tacoma         

Ben Holzer                                         Independent Consultant          

Jeffrey Johnson                                 Union and Community Activist

Josh Krammes, Founder                  Continuum Resource Development       

Nick Licata                                         Former Seattle City Council     

Tani Lindquist, President                WEA-Sammamish UniServ Council           

Margaret O’Mara, Professor          Department of History UW        

Larry Phillips                                     Former King County Council    

Jodie Ryan, CEO                                Celerity Response, LLC             

Marina Skumanich                           Individual                                    

Stan Sorscher                                    Individual                                      

Dr. Roxanne Thayer                         Individual                                      

Henry Underhill, VP/Partner          Moxie Media                                

Colby Underwood                            Individual                                      

  Kim Vu                                                Individual

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