May Advocacy Update: State and Federal News

Lelach Rave, MD, FAAP and Wes Henricksen MD, MPH, FAAP
Co-Chairs, WCAAP Legislative Committee

State: Budget Focus during Special Session
The Washington State legislature is now in a special session, which lasts 30 days. This will give legislators an opportunity to move any bills that stalled across the finish line and to come to consensus on the budget for the next biennium.

We will use this time to make sure your voices continue to be heard on child health issues. Specifically, we are advocating for funding in the budget to increase the Medicaid rate to Medicare levels; funding for the children’s mental health bills that passed during the regular session; and funding for Reach Out and Read. If you have not yet had a chance to contact your legislators on these budget priorities yet – it’s not too late! Even if you already emailed, following up can help strengthen our impact. Here is the link to contact your legislators about the budget.

Keep an eye on your inbox over the month of May as we will alert you to more opportunities to take action on the budget and to advocate for raising the age to purchase tobacco products and for paid family and medical leave. We sincerely appreciate the time you take out of your busy days to help us make sure Washington’s kids are healthy kids.

Federal: AHCA Puts Children at Risk
We’ve been paying close attention to progress on “repeal and replace” efforts in Congress, and have deep concerns about the effect any cuts to Medicaid included in the proposed health care plan would have on children. In our state, half of all children have Medicaid health care coverage, so weakening the program would have a devastating impact.

We are specifically working to educate Representatives Reichert, Newhouse and McMorris-Rodgers about how Medicaid protects children. Representative Jamie Herrera-Beutler has shown strong leadership and commitment to kids by speaking up against this health care proposal and stating that she will vote No.

If you live in one of the districts we are focused on, you can help by reaching out to your representative in Congress:
– District 8 – Rep. Dave Reichert
– District 5 – Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers 
– District 4 – Rep. Dan Newhouse 
– District 3 – Rep. Jamie Herrera-Beutler