A House Committee Advanced Part of the GOP Plan to Repeal, Replace Obamacare: The House Ways and Means Committee approved the legislation at 4 a.m., after 18 hours of rejecting Democratic amendment after Democratic amendment, the New York Times reports. The Times: "Among other proposals, Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee turned back Democratic amendments requiring that people not lose health coverage under the Republican legislation and that the plan not increase out-of-pocket costs for older people, a critical issue for AARP."
Now the Plan Is Being Reviewed by the Energy and Commerce Committee: That committee has already "rejected a Democratic amendment to preserve a part of the Affordable Care Act that provides low-income people with financial assistance to help cover deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs for health care."
State Insurance Commissioner Says Obamacare Repeal Could Collapse WA's Individual Insurance Market: Mike Kreidler predicts that healthy people would avoid buying insurance entirely, while hundreds of thousands of Medicaid users lose their coverage. In 1999, when state Republicans repealed an attempt at comprehensive state health insurance, 17 out of 19 health insurance companies offering individual policies left the state. "By 1999, it was impossible to buy an individual policy in Washington," the Seattle Times reports. "Every insurer had pulled out."
Meanwhile, John Muir Elementary School Has Shut Down Because of a Norovirus Outbreak: There are no details on the outbreak, or where it came from, but Seattle Public Schools hopes to open the school again Friday. Norovirus, also known as the stomach flu, is highly contagious and can be transmitted through contaminated foods or having contact with a sick person.
Mayor Offers New Details on Proposed $275 Million Homelessness Levy: More than half of the money raised through the proposed property-tax levy would help people without shelter find permanent housing, the Seattle Times' Vernal Coleman reports. Another $55 million would go to hiring new outreach workers and converting existing shelters into 24-hour facilities, and $25 million would be dedicated to expanding substance abuse treatment.
But Is the State Legislature Going to Deal with Our Toxic Lead Problem? Ten Washington kids a week are being diagnosed with dangerous levels of lead in their blood, but the two of the best measures proposed during this legislative session to deal with the problem died, Investigate West reports. Still, a related bill on water pollution that also tackles the state's lead crisis is moving to a floor vote in the Senate. Investigate West: "The Senate bill, proposed by Bellevue Democrat Sen. Patty Kuderer, would require public schools to test drinking water for lead and for water systems to replace all the schools’ lead pipes by 2020."
The US Vets Refugee Babies Before They Can Resettle Here: KUOW follows the story of one Somalian family living in a Kenyan refugee camp; all were approved to resettle in Seattle until the mother became pregnant. "The baby was born in November 2015," KUOW reports. "Rashid and his family are still waiting for their baby to be approved."
Senators Demand Department of Energy Investigate Hanford Worker Comp Claims: “We have heard concerns from Hanford workers and labor unions about their experience with [Hanford private contractor] Penser inadequately addressing workers’ compensation claims following chemical vapor exposures,” Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell wrote in a letter to the Department of Energy's acting inspector general. “Multiple accounts of workers’ compensation claims being dismissed on arbitrary grounds, tactics bordering on intimidation, and actions taken to discredit claims have been shared with us. These allegations are very troubling and we urge the OIG (Office of the Inspector General) to take immediate action.” One former Hanford worker diagnosed with occupational induced dementia has been waiting eight years to have his worker comp claim accepted.
On the Blabbermouth Podcast! Eli talks with former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden, who will be in Seattle on March 14. The gang—including Ana Sofia Knauf, Rich Smith, and Dan Savage—also discuss the International Women's Day strike and the latest in Trump-Russia collusion theories.
The Head of the EPA Doesn't Believe in Climate Science: The head of the EPA. In 2017.