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Issue Position: Taking Charge of Our Health

Issue Position

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Issue Position: Taking Charge of Our Health

Governor Chris Gregoire has continued her lifetime commitment to increase access to high quality, affordable health care. Healthy citizens are the backbone of a productive and vibrant community, and as the richest nation in the world, we have a responsibility to provide access to quality, affordable health care to our citizens.

Our health care crisis needs national solutions but Governor Gregoire will not stand by and wait for the federal government to act. With our internationally recognized research and high-tech institutions, Washington is well positioned to lead the nation in disease management and prevention. With strong leadership, we can make sure the basic healthcare needs of all our citizens are met when and where they are most needed.

Governor Gregoire has four key health care goals:

1. Create a sustainable, affordable, quality health system;
2. Increase access to health care coverage and prescription drugs;
3. Improve the health of Washingtonians; and
4. Ensure everyone has access to quality health care providers.

Increasing Access to Health Care and Prescription Drugs

Governor Gregoire believes that no child should go without health care. She has promised that all Washington's children are insured by 2010.

During her first week in office she signed a directive to prevent 26,000 children from losing their health care. Governor Gregoire has led the charge to see to it that, by 2007, 73,000 more children have access to health care.

Governor Gregoire also believes that mental health care services just as they have access to physical health care services. She championed legislation to require that insurance coverage for mental health care services be the same as coverage for other medical services.

Governor Gregoire in 2005 developed a new, state-sponsored prescription drug consortium that has reduced the cost of prescription drugs for the uninsured and underinsured. Washington and Oregon in July 2006 announced a partnership to expand this consortium for residents of both states, increasing our ability to negotiate lower prescription drug costs.

Improving Our Health

Good health is central to our quality of life, the vibrancy of our community, and our ability to remain competitive in a global market. This is why Governor Gregoire is passionate about ensuring that each of us is as healthy as possible.

She launched the Governor's Community Health Bowl in 2005, in partnership with Washington Health Foundation, to challenge all Washingtonians to exercise regularly and improve their health. Hundreds of community organizations, schools, businesses and others participate in this annual education campaign. In its first year, Washingtonians walked more than one million miles as part of the challenge. This year the Governor's goal is 2.5 million miles.

Ensuring Quality Providers

Medical malpractice lawsuits can drive up the cost of care, so Governor Gregoire negotiated a breakthrough agreement among lawmakers and the medical, insurance and legal communities. This agreement improves patient safety and reforms the civil justice system involving medical liability.

Governor Gregoire signed into law a budget that significantly increased reimbursement rates for adult day services in Washington - key to supporting family caregivers as well as social networks for seniors and the disabled.

Governor Gregoire is committed to ensuring that patients have access to quality providers. She issued an executive order that directed the Department of Health and professional disciplinary boards to adopt uniform sexual misconduct rules. She also required them to adopt uniform sanctioning guidelines for providers who exhibit unprofessional conduct or substandard care.

Creating a Health Care System that Works

Governor Gregoire recognizes that fewer people today have health insurance than five years ago and that the cost of health care is increasing at more than five times the rate of inflation. This trend creates a hardship for Washington citizens, business and our state government.

Governor Gregoire is committed to improving the affordability and quality of our health care system. Governor Gregoire believes state government should serve as a model in the marketplace. This includes:
* Using evidence-based medicine to ensure that patients receive health care that works;
* Expanding chronic care management to better serve the five percent of patients that utilize 50 percent of our health care resources;
* Emphasizing health promotion and prevention;
* Using health information technology; and
* Taking Charge of Our Health

Governor Chris Gregoire has continued her lifetime commitment to increase access to high quality, affordable health care. Healthy citizens are the backbone of a productive and vibrant community, and as the richest nation in the world, we have a responsibility to provide access to quality, affordable health care to our citizens.

Our health care crisis needs national solutions but Governor Gregoire will not stand by and wait for the federal government to act. With our internationally recognized research and high-tech institutions, Washington is well positioned to lead the nation in disease management and prevention. With strong leadership, we can make sure the basic healthcare needs of all our citizens are met when and where they are most needed.
Increasing data transparency to give consumers better information about health care costs and quality.

Moving Washington Forward

Governor Gregoire is moving Washington health care forward as co-chair of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Costs and Access, co-chaired by state Senator Pat Thibaudeau. The Commission is a bipartisan effort to address the health care needs of all Washingtonians, and is scheduled to issue recommendations by December 2006.


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