By Keene Short, Whole Washington volunteer
Unlike most countries whose development has gone unhindered, the United States has an exclusively privatized health insurance industry. This means that private corporations are legally allowed to decide a patient’s fate based on the profitability of their continued existence through even the most inexpensive procedures, even in the most progressive states.
Fortunately, there are grassroots organizations, both local and national, working to overturn this unjust system from the ground up. Whole Washington currently seeks to establish the Washington Health Trust through a grassroots ballot initiative in Washington State, using the same political tool that led to the legalization of statewide recreational cannabis.
This is one of the most radical approaches to universal healthcare, but of course we need to frame this in the context of the nationwide healthcare justice movement. As advocates like Tim Faust, Bernie Sanders, and many Green Party candidates and organizers have intimated, and as countless Americans have testified, the for-profit health insurance regime is a form of relentless exploitation, bleeding people of financial resources and social and emotional security.
In other words, our fight is rooted in solidarity. Our fight is grounded in and necessarily tied to solidarity with others fighting against the private insurance regime. Whole Washington wages a battle that is politically specific but not ideologically unique, as healthcare justice advocates have fought similar battles from California to Maine, and similar movements have made strides in even the reddest of states like Idaho and Missouri.
Ours is not a fight of values, nor ideology, nor political leanings, but material conditions. We are fighting for what we need to survive, which is the freedom that healthcare justice will bring.
We need 400,000 signatures from Washington state citizens by December to put I-1471 on the ballot in November of 2023. This will give us a year between the Midterms and the Presidential election to focus exclusively on healthcare, giving us a chance to highlight the benefits of universal healthcare, ultimately giving us a chance to prove, not just locally but nationally, that healthcare justice was the way of the future decades ago.
We can win this fight, but we need to win this moment first and foremost. We need all hands on deck to help us collect signatures. This is not a matter of political expediency or endorsement. This is the moment for solidarity. Please join us in our fight as a volunteer or a donor. Together, we can win one of the most crucial and current battles for healthcare justice in a country nearly ruined by privatized health insurance.
Here are three things YOU can do to help us reach our goal together.
- Volunteer to collect signatures. This is THE MOST URGENT task right now. We have until December to reach 400,000 signatures from across the state. Right now, this is the name of the game!
- Host a bin or host a petition at a business. We’re distributing blank petitions and receiving filled petition sheets in bins, which you can keep at your home, so volunteers can pick them up and drop them off as needed. Another alternative is to hold petition sheets at your business, if possible, so customers can sign as they come and go.
- Spread the word! Take a petition sheet to work, or a family barbecue. Spread our posts on social media. Make sure your fellow Washingtonians know that Whole Washington is fighting for their freedom from the health insurance lobby, and we can only do this together.
Visit the Whole Washington Get Involved Page to find information about all the above and more. We can win this fight, but we need to act NOW more than ever.