Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Health care


Governor, A.G. comment on health-care ruling

State leaders react to today’s court ruling, in which a Florida judge struck down President Obama’s health care overhaul.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna, who was among the Republican state a.g.s to file the lawsuit, applauded the decision in a statement:

“While we all recognize the vital need to access health care services in our country, forcing all U.S. citizens to buy a commercial product in the private market with their own money is an unprecedented and unconstitutional move by the federal government. Americans value their constitutional rights. They want a health care law that respects those rights and actually reduces the financial burdens on their families. That is why more than half of the states in America are challenging this new law.”

Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire had this to say:

“There’s no question I’m disappointed in today’s ruling. Not only did Judge Vinson rule against the individual mandate, he declared the entire law unconstitutional. This ruling, as I have stated all along, is not good for Washingtonians.
“This means that nearly 900,000 seniors in Washington who have Medicare coverage will be forced to pay more for regular check-ups and important preventive services, like mammograms and colonoscopies. It means the more than 45,000 Washington Medicare beneficiaries who received a one-time, tax-free $250 rebate to help pay for prescription drugs may be forced to give that benefit back. In addition, they’d lose out on the 50 percent discounts on certain prescription drugs. 

Read on for the full press releases.

Read more »


Gregoire and three other governors fight back in health care lawsuit

Gov. Chris Gregoire may not have been able to stop the state’s Republican Attorney General, Rob McKenna, from joining a multi-state challenge to the new federal health care bill, but today she and other Democratic governors are asking to intervene in the suit – and tout the advantages of the law’s changes.
“I’ve said from the beginning – the action of the Attorney General in filing this lawsuit does not represent the Governor, the Insurance Commissioner, legislative leadership, or thousands of Washingtonians in our state that would benefit from national health care reform,” Gregoire said in a news release.

UPDATE: McKenna has issued a statement in response:

“The 20 states, represented by 16 attorneys general and four governors, members of the National Federation of Independent Business and individuals affected by these new mandates filed this lawsuit because health care reform is too important to build on an unconstitutional foundation,” McKenna said.

Read the full releases below:

Gov. Gregoire joins other governors to announce next step in federal lawsuit against health care reform

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today, along with Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Gov. Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania and Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado announced they have filed a joint motion to enter a federal lawsuit and present information about the benefits and opportunities provided to their states by the landmark health care reform legislation recently signed by President Obama.

“I’ve said from the beginning – the action of the Attorney General in filing this lawsuit does not represent the Governor, the Insurance Commissioner, legislative leadership, or thousands of Washingtonians in our state that would benefit from national health care reform,” Gregoire said. “We need to move forward.  This legislation not only provides necessary care to millions of Americans who desperately need it – it protects our tax payers from the skyrocketing costs of health care.”

“The individual mandate is an issue of personal responsibility,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “It prevents people from shifting the cost of their medical care onto others. It’s a cornerstone for making the new reforms work.”

Read more »


Protesters turn in 36,000 ‘signatures’ to AG McKenna

The protest against Attorney General Rob McKenna’s legal action to block federal health reform was peaceful today at the state Highways Licenses Building.

A group of about 50 protesters chanted “Shame on Rob” and “Don’t Rob Our Benefits.” Democratic activist Nathe Lawver of Pierce County pushed a wheelbarrow filled with 20,000 petitions and a letter representing another 16,000 residents who protest McKenna’s decision to join the health-care lawsuit with a dozen states including Florida.

Read more.


Who got health industry buck$ – the answer might surprise you

The recent fight over health care reform has divided sharply along party lines. The GOP decries the Democrats vision of a “government takeover” of your health, while the Dems say it’s a modest step to keep “big, bad insurance companies” from running amok. So you’d assume that campaign and lobbying dollars from the health care business interest would divide that way, too.

But this analysis of health care industry spending by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that the money is much more bipartisan than the debate. The government watchdog group added up health sector industry spending on lobbying and campaigns from 1989 to 2009, and found that health interests have spent $3.5 billion over the last 20 years trying to influence lawmakers, nearly $600 million of it last year alone.

In the latest cycle, Democrats fared better than Republicans in attracting dollars from pharmaceutical companies, medical professionals and, yes, even “evil” insurance companies. (That may be expected, given that Democrats are running both houses.)

Among the Washington delegation, members of both parties took campaign contributions from the health care lobby over the two decades. The big beneficiaries were Democrats, particularly Patty Murray, who sits on both the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee and the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.

Here’s how the delegation stacks up, based on the numbers from the Center for Responsive Politics’ numbers. As you can see, the money didn’t line up with the outcome of their votes on the health care bill:

Read more »


McKenna’s offices going on ‘modified lockdown’

State Attorney General Rob McKenna’s staff is ordering a “modified lockdown” at the Highway Licenses Building today in anticipation of protests against the Republican’s lawsuit to block national health reform.

Activists with the progressive group Fuse and others are bringing 18,000 online petition signatures asking McKenna to drop his suit and “not to sacrifice Washington’s health for partisan politics,” activists said in a news release.

Those gathering at Tivoli Fountain on campus at noon then going over to McKenna’s office include Aaron Belenky, who created a Facebook group and petition that drew huge interest after Monday’s news about McKenna’s legal

Read more »


Public opinion on health care reform not as clear or as clean as either side claims

Here are a pair of articles that look at the conflicting polling on health care reform. It’s an important topic right now because both opponents and backers of the federal law claim they are on the side of the public.

But as with all polls, especially issue polls, the magic is in how the questions are asked and what information the respondent has.

The first article is from Pollster.com and was written by Mark Blumenthal.

The second article is at ABCnews.com and was written by its director of polling Gary Langer.


Seattle youth center stage as Obama signs health care bill

11-year-old Marcelas Owens of Seattle was front-and-center this morning in the East Room of the White House as President Barack Obama signed the health care overhaul bill. The youngster, whose mom died after losing her health insurance, has become the face of the need for reform – although conservative pundits say he’s been exploited. It’s certainly a day he’ll remember.

Here’s an excerpt from the President’s remarks:

Today, I’m signing this reform bill into law on behalf of my mother, who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days.

I’m signing it for

Read more »


Roll call: Washington delegation votes along party lines

Despite earlier questions about whether Reps. Adam Smith and Brian Baird would go along with fellow Democrats, Washington’s congressional delegation voted along party lines in the 219-212 vote on the health care proposal. Here’s how South Sound lawmakers voted.

Rep. Brian Baird
3rd District Democrat
“At the end of the day, this will be much better for the American people than what we have now. … On fiscal grounds this is sound, on humanitarian grounds it’s sound. I have been in the room when people died who didn’t have health insurance.”

Rep. Norm Dicks

Read more »