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: Medicaid


Gov. Jay Inslee wades into legislative fray for the first time

In his first extended comments Wednesday on the 24-day-old legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee took aim at some of the ideas put forward by the Republican-dominated majority in the state Senate.

“I’m very concerned that the Senate already has gone backwards on two areas,” said the Democratic governor, citing proposed changes to the state’s worker-compensation system that was last overhauled in 2011 and the voter-approved green-power law Inslee helped champion in 2006. He later added another Senate Republican measure to his list of those going in the wrong direction, this one requiring notification of parents of teenagers obtaining abortions.

Inslee stopped short

Read more »


UPDATE – Cantwell, Heck appearing in Olympia today; activists asking them to sign ‘cat food pledge’ protecting Social Security

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and congressional candidate Denny Heck in the 10th district are campaigning together in Shelton and Olympia today. It is part of Democrats’ statewide “jobs” tour, and Cantwell is also campaigning this morning in Aberdeen with congressional candidate Derek Kilmer of the 6th district that includes Tacoma.

Activists wanting to head of cuts or changes in benefits in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid say they are dressing up as cats for Halloween and bringing a pledge for Cantwell and Heck to sign during their 4:30 p.m. appearance in Olympia at Ramblin Jack’s restaurant. Cantwell and Heck also

Read more »


McKenna still clarifying stance on health-law repeal

Republicans’ leading candidate for governor, Rob McKenna, does not support repealing the Affordable Care Act, his top spokesman Charles McCray said today. That squares with remarks McKenna made to reporters two weeks ago – the day the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a Obamacare) from a lawsuit that McKenna had joined with other attorneys general.

The suit – if fully successful – would have overturned the act, which is further than McKenna has always said he really wanted to happen. After the ruling McKenna said it was time to move on and improve what

Read more »


State gains $55.6 million budget cushion after lower caseload forecast

It isn’t much, but Washington state budget writers are taking every nickel and million dollars they can get these days. This week’s quarterly caseload forecast is predicting smaller increases in many program enrollments through June 2013 – with the biggest savings coming in the Medicaid medical assistance to poor families, according to the state Office of Financial Management.

Bottom line: $55.6 million in reduced costs expected through mid-2013 and a $350 million cushion against state emergencies over the next year.

The “categorically needy” program in Medicaid that serves people whose low incomes or situation

Read more »


State cracks down on ER abuse

Statehouse reporter Jordan Schrader has a story in Monday’s paper about the state looking to reduce emergency room misuse – and save millions in the process.

Under the new limits that take effect Saturday, the state will not pay for ER visits for Medicaid patients who make repeated trips to the ER for what the state considers nonemergencies.

Hospitals and doctors’ groups have aligned to fight the state, arguing that patients often don’t know if their symptoms warrant emergency care until they are seen by a doctor.

Jordan lists several conditions that will be deemed nonemergencies by the

Read more »


Governor warns of mass job cuts without federal aid

WASHINGTON – Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire warned Monday unless Congress acts quickly to provide $23 billion in additional Medicaid funding Washington state may have to lay off up to 12,000 workers. In a letter to the state’s congressional, Gregoire said the state was counting on the $480 million it expected to receive from the federal government through the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMPA) program.

The governor said absent the federal funding, she would be forced to call a special session of the Legislature. If the Legislature acted quickly to fill the budget deficit, the state would have to cut

Read more »