Governor Inslee’s appointed representatives will meet today in Lacey with executives of the state’s public-sector unions to begin a series of closed-door meetings. The secret sessions will decide how much the public will pay in state employee salary and benefits in the 2015-17 state budget.
The high-level negotiations are expected to last several months. No open meetings are planned, and participants have indicated they will not take comment from the public.
Erica C. Barnett over at Publicola criticizes Washington Policy Center for proposing ways King County leaders can protect Metro bus service from the cuts they plan to impose on local communities. Erica doesn’t like our ideas for saving bus service (and that’s ok), but she doesn’t offer any of her own.
Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler is testifying before Congress today in praise of the implementation of the Obamacare law in our state.In his comments, however, he is unlikely to provide much detail about the hurtful disruption the law and his tough-minded regulatory actions are causing Washington families.
The national policy announced by President Obama today that is intended to allow people who like their health care coverage to keep it will not be available to Washington state residents. The problem arose when the country learned in recent weeks that the President's oft-repeated pledge that, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period," is untrue.
Three years ago Washington state's elected officials took the lead in implementing Obamacare, saying that if Washington did not set up a state health care exchange, as required by the 2010 Affordable Care Act the federal government would do it for us. The Exchange will cost the state about $50 million a year to operate.
Under the law the online Exchange was to be up and running today. Instead visitors find it is not working. A notice at the site, WAHealthPlanFinder, tells those seeking health coverage:
News from Madison yesterday delivered another blow to union executives seeking to restrict workers’ rights to freedom of speech and association. Wisconsin courts have again upheld Act 10, the law that made Wisconsin the latest right to work state by bringing equal access to workplace freedom to all employees in the Badger State.
Blake Island, Washington – Campers and boaters were enjoying the sun Saturday at this popular state park set in the heart of Puget Sound when they noticed something odd. Across the water to the south ferry traffic between Fauntleroy, Vashon and Southworth, one of the busiest runs in the state system, was at a complete stand-still. Why ferry service would halt on an active summer weekend was a complete mystery. Speculation ranged from a snap union strike to simultaneous mechanical break-downs on all the ferries.
"This is nuts." That's how one member of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board described the process for approving or rejecting health plans that could be offered to Washingtonians through the Obamacare state exchange.
Earlier, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler rejected plans offered by five of the nine insurers that had sought to offer customers plans through the regulated state exchange, as he explained in a letter released August 21st.
Union executive Dianne Gross of the MLK County Labor Council and the Washington State Labor Council expressed angry opposition to the upcoming visit to Seattle of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The comments were made in a live interview August 17th with KIRO radio's Jason Rantz.
The widely-read federal employee news site FedSmith.com reports that in a reader survey 92% of the 2,500 respondents rejected getting their health coverage through Obamacare's exchanges, and instead want to continue with their current coverage. The survey questions and results are below.
"Do you think federal employees should be required to use the health insurance exchanges or continue to use the current health insurance program?
A Spokesman-Revieweditorial this week laments the awkward summer ritual of teachers, sometimes assisted by parents and charities, having to spend their own money to provide basic classroom supplies. As the editorial notes, "The problem is that lawmakers have underfunded basic education for so long." Two things are surprising about this statement.
Labor executives in Washington state are upset Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is coming to Seattle September 5th to speak at the Washington Policy Center annual awards dinner, according to the Washington State Labor Council newsletter The Stand.
As Americans enjoy a long hot summer, we are increasingly realizing that the return of cold weather will bring an equally chilling effect on our health care. Starting on January 1st nearly everyone will have to comply with the individual mandate imposed by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Some people on the left sure don't like ALEC. One who does, however, is Governor Jay Inslee. ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is a voluntary, non-partisan professional organization that periodically brings together lawmakers from around the country to share ideas about model legislation and sound policies that can advance the public good in their states. ALEC is reviled by extremists on the far left, and they have launched a national campaign to run down its reputation.
Washington's school children had little to celebrate as lawmakers added $1.5 billion in new spending to an inefficient, unreformed K-12 public education system. The new money will do little to bring about real change. Currently only 59 cents of every education dollar reaches the classroom and mandatory teacher assignment rules prevent principals from getting the best teachers into the classroom.