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Governor Gregoire Announces Launch of Commission to Improve Access to Affordable Quality Health Care

For Immediate Release: May 4, 2006

Governor will lead efforts to expand access to health care

OLYMPIA - Governor Chris Gregoire today announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon commission to find ways to provide accessible, affordable, quality health care for all Washingtonians. The commission includes two members from each of the four caucuses of the Legislature, as well as other state officials.

“We have a responsibility to insure that all Washingtonians have access to quality health care that fits within their budget,” said Governor Gregoire. “The current system is not working for a large portion of our citizens. This bipartisan commission is tasked with the important job of examining our health care system and recommending innovative ways to better serve everyone.”

The commission will recommend to Governor Gregoire and the Legislature by December 1, 2006, a sustainable five-year plan to substantially improve access to affordable health care for all Washington residents.

Governor Gregoire and Senator Pat Thibaudeau will serve as the Co-Chairs of the commission, which will hold its first meeting on June 22, 2006.

“Our goal is to improve Washington’s health by increasing access to, enhancing the quality of and containing the costs associated with health care. To achieve that goal, public involvement will be critical,” said Sen. Pat Thibaudeau, D-Seattle, vice chair of the Senate Health & Long-Term Care Committee.

Speaker Frank Chopp (D-Seattle), Senator Lisa Brown (D-Spokane), Representatives Eileen Cody (D-Seattle), John Serben (R-Spokane), Bill Hinkle (R-Cle Elum), and Senators Linda Evans Parlette (R-Wenatchee) and Alex Deccio (R-Yakima) have been selected to serve on the commission.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, Secretary of Health Mary Selecky, Health Care Authority director Steve Hill, Doug Porter from the department of Social and Health Services and Robert Malooly from the department of Labor and Industries will also serve as commission members.