PDA chair advises Whole Washington on gathering support for statewide universal medical insurance initiative – State of Reform


Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Advisory Board Chair Donna Smith advised Whole Washington members of opportunities to assemble the support they should get a universal medical insurance initiative on the upcoming general election ballot Saturday.


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Whole Washington held a launch event for its 2022 campaign on the Grand Cinema in Tacoma. The grassroots organization submitted Initiative-1471 to the Secretary of State on March twenty third. I-1471 would create a state-level universal health care insurance plan that will cover all Washingtonians, no matter citizenship status. Whole Washington is searching for 400,000 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot.

Smith said a big a part of the signature-gathering process will likely be educating residents on what I-1471 offers.

“Sometimes it’s nearly opening the conversation,” Smith said. “All of us get weary of getting to assemble signatures and get people to vote in their very own best interests; 68 percent of Americans imagine in Medicare For All. But we’ll do it. They usually’re not voting for the measure now; they’re voting to get it on the ballot.”

The Whole Washington event featured the showing of filmmaker Michael Moore’s documentary “Sicko,” which compares the for-profit U.S. health care system to universal health care systems in other countries. Smith was featured within the movie.

“Sicko” featured interviews with Smith as she talked about how she and her husband, Larry Smith, went bankrupt after attempting to pay co-pay and deductible insurance fees they were charged after Larry’s three heart attacks and Donna’s treatment for abdominal cancer. They eventually lost their home and had to maneuver into their daughter’s basement.

Smith discussed her struggles with the medical insurance system during testimony in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on July 17, 2007. She said most of the issues she struggled with then proceed to challenge Americans.

“It’s been 15 years since I testified to the House Judiciary Committee about what happened to my family,” Smith said. “If you happen to take a look at the movie, it hasn’t aged much. There’s quite a bit that’s good in regards to the Medicare For All movement. But the fact is we have now quite a bit against us. Insurance firms make it difficult for us. Nevertheless, we’ll get there.”

Smith said it could possibly be difficult for Whole Washington members to assemble support for I-1471 from knocking on doors (as many Washingtonians remain cautious as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic). She beneficial searching for out youths, people arriving at hospitals, nurses, and library patrons, where she said PDA has found support for its political initiatives. 

“Numerous individuals are going into libraries to make use of computers and do various things,” Smith said. “We’ve gotten lots of signatures outside libraries to get candidates on the ballot.”

 Smith also beneficial drawing supporters with food. 

“If you happen to’re going to do one other signature gathering, I believe you must do some food,” she said. “Do a chili cook-off. Just rejoice with it.”

Whole Washington will give you the chance to assemble signatures until December. Smith said that may give group members loads of time to host signature-gathering events.

“You may almost do something every month,” she said. “I believe that has been one in every of PDA’s best successes is that we get people in a pattern. Go to town halls in the event that they have them, or get on the phone along with your representatives, along with your senators. Make sure that they know you’re on the market doing it, in the event that they don’t already.”


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