Unfair long-term-care law likely to see small changes — repeal would be best

By ELIZABETH HOVDE  | 
Sep 15, 2021
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In reporting on our state’s new, controversial long-term-care payroll tax and possible changes to it this next session, this part of a Washington State Wire article is key: “The original bill allowed workers who already had private long-term care insurance to opt out of the state tax. When lawmakers tried to clarify during this last session that the loophole was only meant for people who had insurance prior to the bill’s passage, Sen. Ron Muzzall (R-10th LD) added and passed an amendment that extended the deadline to Nov. 1.” 

Letting people opt out of this payroll tax if they didn’t already have a private insurance plan was not the intention of the poorly designed law, and lawmakers certainly didn’t expect to see so many people try to get out.

Lawmakers who voted for this bill created the current mess in the private long-term-care insurance market and another problem for the solvency of this government-mandated program. The amendment from Sen. Ron Muzzall, R-Whidbey Island, allowed some people an opportunity to exercise their only remaining option regarding how they plan to pay for long-term care. 

Full repeal of the new tax remains the hopeful course when lawmakers meet next January. We hope the public outcry has been heard and lawmakers represent their constituents.