On the Issues
Due to Governor Inslee never holding federal office, he has not had the same opportunities to support or cosponsor legislation that ANA has championed as some of the other presidential candidates. This does not necessarily indicate that, if he were to be the presidential nominee, he would not potentially be strong on nursing issues and health care more broadly.
Previous Work with ANA
Governor Inslee has signed several health care and nursing bills into law. In May 2019, Governor Inslee signed SHB 1931, which focuses on creating safer workplaces for nurses and was a top legislative priority for the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA).
Governor Inslee has participated in WSNA’s Nurse Legislative Day every year – talking with nurses and nursing students about the importance of their profession in the legislative arena. Governor Inslee has annually signed a proclamation for Nurses Week and has participated in videos thanking WSNA members for their work and advocacy. When Governor Inslee’s niece was in nursing school and attended WSNA’s Nurse Legislative Day, he spoke directly about her experience in nursing school and the importance of improving work place and safety conditions for nurses.
In December 2018, Governor Inslee rolled out a $19.3 million proposal to build upon Washington state’s effort against opioid use disorder. This included enhanced treatment for pregnant and parenting women by providing start-up costs for four new 16-bed sites that enable mother and child to live together during treatment according to his gubernatorial website.
He has also emphasized health care access as a priority during his tenure. The state achieved a record-low uninsured rate with nearly 800,000 Washingtonians gaining access to health insurance, and 30,000 Washingtonians gaining access to opioid treatments and behavioral health services. Governor Inslee also signed a law in early 2019 that will make his state the first in the nation to offer a public option health plan to compete with commercial insurance companies.
In 2017, Governor Inslee signed Executive Order 16-09, directing state agencies to work with local public health, tribal governors and others across the state on an opioid response plan to combat opioid abuse, increase addiction treatment methods and make overdose antidotes more accessible to Washington state according his gubernatorial website.
Health System Transformation
Governor Inslee also pushed the legislature to pass HB 1388 which supports statewide integration of physical services and behavioral health services, such as addiction treatment and mental health care, for Apple Health (Medicaid) clients. The bill better aligns the functions of three state agencies to help consumers navigate the system more effectively and to receive better coordinated, quality and cost-effective care.
Additional Health Care Information
In the July 2019 Democratic primary debate, Governor Inslee commented that women were underpaid in industries where they represent the majority of employees and cited nurses and teachers as examples.