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Packed room hears testimony on Washington state health bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Single-payer supporters packed a hearing room at the State Capitol on Feb. 1 to give and listen to public testimony in support of the Washington Health Security Trust (H.R. 1085). Advocates say the bill would provide affordable, high-quality health care for all of Washington state’s residents.

The crowd was so large that it spilled over into three additional overflow rooms. Of those people who signed in for the hearing, which was conducted by the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, about 135 said they were there to affirm their support for the legislation. Some 25 persons delivered testimony on the bill, including six members of the Western Washington chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, a single-payer advocacy group.

The hearing, which lasted more than an hour, was notable for the diversity of people offering testimony, who came from many places around the state. Health Care for All Washington, the chief organizer of the bill’s supporters, recorded videos of much of the testimony, which are available for viewing here.

Unfortunately, despite the impressive and moving testimony, the committee’s chair, state Rep. Eileen Cody, did not ask for a vote to pass the bill out of her committee. Even so, single-payer supporters said the hearing was very exciting and invigorating, and a meeting was held afterwards to consolidate supporters for future advocacy.