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Archives: June 2012

June
28th

Here is the excerpt from Justice Ginsburg’s concurring opinion that references Gov. Chris Gregoire’s amicus brief on health care reform

In a lengthy concurring opinion to today’s majority opinion upholding the Affordable Care Act, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg quoted from the amicus brief submitted on behalf of Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire. In the brief, Gregoire cited the state’s failed attempt to reform health care in 1993, a failure she blamed on the lack of an individual mandate to obtain insurance coverage.

Here is the excerpt that cites Washington state and Gregoire’s brief…

But these two provisions, Congress comprehended, could not work effectively unless individuals were given a powerful incentive to obtain insurance. See Hearings before the House Ways and Means Committee, 111th Cong., 1st Sess., 10, 13 (2009) (statement of Uwe Reinhardt) (“[I]m- position of community-rated premiums and guaranteed issue on a market of competing private health insurers will inexorably drive that market into extinction, unless these two features are coupled with . . . a mandate on individual[s] to be insured.” (emphasis in original)).

In the 1990’s, several States—including New York, New Jersey, Washington, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont—enacted guaranteed-issue and community rating laws without requiring universal acquisition of insurance coverage. The results were disastrous. “All seven states suffered from skyrocketing insurance premium costs, reductions in individuals with coverage, and reductions in insurance products and providers.” Brief for American Association of People with Disabilities et al. as Amici Curiae in No. 11–398, p. 9 (hereinafter AAPD Brief).See also Brief for Governor of Washington Christine Gregoire as Amicus Curiae in No. 11–398, pp. 11–14 (describing the “death spiral” in the insurance market Washington experienced when the State passed a law requiring coverage for preexisting conditions). Read more »

June
28th

Keith Swank: “a new sheriff in town”

Keith Swank, candidate for Washington’s 8th congressional District seat, will debut a new campaign ad July 2. The commercial will air in Eastern Washington, but Swank’s campaign is looking for donations to help the spot run in Western Washington.

The commercial describes Swank as a “family man, local cop and political outsider.” Swank bills himself as a Constitutional Conservative Republican candidate. He’s aiming to win Dave Reichert’s, R-Auburn, seat.

Swank is running in the 8th district, which now includes eastern counties Kittitas and Chelan after redistricting. Swank is a Seattle Police Officer and this is his first time running for office. The campaign needs

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June
28th

Inslee on Obamacare: A win despite ‘enormous political pressure by Republican Attorneys General’

Jay Inslee, former congressman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, targeted opponent Rob McKenna, albeit not by name, in his statement today about the Supreme Court’s ruling on health care:

“Today, in a majority ruling by Justices appointed by Presidents of both parties, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act.

What this means for Washingtonians is that insurance companies can no longer deny people coverage based on pre-existing conditions; there can be no caps on lifetime coverage; young men and women just starting out on their career paths can stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26; and prescription

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June
28th

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, one of the plaintiffs in lawsuit, says he wanted “thoughtful debate” on health care law

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna had joined the law suit with more than two-dozen other states challenging the Affordable Care Act. The Republican candidate for governor, who sought to invalidate the mandate to buy insurance and Medicaid mandates for states, put out a news release that says in part:

Today the US Supreme Court upheld the 2010 Affordable Care Act. In a close decision, with multiple opinions, the Court ruled that the federal requirement to purchase health insurance—specifically a plan dictated by government regulators – does not violate the Constitution.

The states argued that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause allows Congress

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June
28th

Sabato’s Crystal Ball changes prediction on Washington’s new 10th Congressional District from “likely Democrat” to “safe Democrat.”

University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato is a popular source for predictions of American political races. In today’s installment of Sabato’s Crystal Ball he notes changes in 10 U.S. House seats including the new 10th in Washington.

Sabato had listed that race at likely Democrat but now considers it safe Democrat. That’s a significant movement in a district that was created by the state Redistriciting Commission to be a seat that was up for grabs.

The scale Sabato uses (and most prognosticators use) runs from Safe Republican, Likely Republican, Leans Republican, Toss up, Leans Democrat, Likely Democrat and

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June
28th

Reichert on health care decision: ‘Only one more point’ in ongoing debate

Congressman Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, had this to say this morning:

“While I respect today’s Supreme Court ruling, it is only one more point in the ongoing debate. I remain undeterred in improving health care for all Americans. The government takeover of health care raised taxes and health care costs, restricted access for patients and hurt businesses. Those problems remain and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to continue repealing harmful and expensive provisions of the law and finding common sense, reasonable solutions for Americans to have access to affordable and quality health care.”

June
28th

Olympia still digesting effects of health ruling on Medicaid

Washington’s state Medicaid overseers are still sorting through this morning’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on health reform to clarify what impact there may be. At issue was the penalty Congress envisioned to withhold Medicaid funding from states that did not go along with the expansion of Medicaid coverage to single adults that have incomes below the eligibility threshold, which state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler says could benefit 328,000 Washingtonians.

Jim Stevenson, spokesman for the Health Care Authority that oversees Medicaid and state employee health plans, said early interpretations are that the court found Congress went too far and that

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June
28th

Gov. Chris Gregoire cheers Obamacare decision

Gov. Gregoire, who had submitted a federal court brief arguing that Attorney General Rob McKenna’s participation in a lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul did not represent Washington’s position, had this to say today after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law’s main tenets. (Her office also released this document explaining the law’s effect in Washington).

“I applaud today’s Supreme Court decision. Since the Affordable Care Act was signed by the President, we have worked tirelessly to implement it in our state, with my firm belief that it was constitutional and would ultimately withstand legal challenge.

Read more »