News Mar 15, 2022 at 9:45 am

The Stranger's rundown of 2022's huge, confused legislative session



"The state requires local governments to update their growth plans every eight years to adjust for expected population changes, and Duerr's proposal would have required cities and counties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled in those plans, plus draw up strategies to deal with expected changes in climate, such as more intense forest fires, floods, droughts, etc."

I like that the Stranger can complain Seattle's Design Review Boards needlessly slow down housing development, but then advocate for the adoption of a more complicated growth management process that would likely cause even greater delays.


"people who haven't selfishly opted out will start paying the payroll tax for it next year."

The whole point of this legislation was to reduce state Medicaid payments for long-term care. Those who opt out have purchased long term care insurance, reducing or eliminating the risk Medicaid would be utilized to pay for their long term care. What is selfish about taking steps to pay for your own care, so the State doesn't have to take on that burden?


"that gives elderly Washington residents $36,500 to pay for a nursing home."

That covers maybe six months in a sub-par facility.


@3: So it essentially amounts to another extortion into the general fund. Or am I being too pessimistic?


@3 That assumes the elderly person was vested in the program, which at minimum would have required working 500+ hours within Washington prior to 2025. Obviously, many current elderly Washington residents would not have qualified. I know I am preaching to the choir, but I did want to highlight one of the big problems with the prior legislation.


@3 the WA Care legislation should be terminated. It provides an inferior policy that is barely useful and is pretty much insolvent from the outset due to the way its structured and the number of people who have already opted out. Even if the legislature passes a few fixes such as exempting people who live out of state and those who will retire in the next ten years there will still be onerous provisions like non-portability. The fact that it essentially chased all private plans out of the market is a giant red flag as well as many of them offered better coverage for lower rates. This whole thing is a boondoggle. The fact that Rich thinks is selfish to remove yourself from something that is bad policy instead of just going along with the flow is ridiculous on its surface.

Here's a crazier fact for you. Since 2017 the state budget has increased from $42.7B to $64.1B this year. That is a 50% increase. During the same period the population increased 6%. Despite all that Rich and the other usual suspects will still tell you we still don't have enough.


WA Care is a terrible value as an insurance program. The premium, relative to what you might get in benefits, is way out of whack with a private plan. If we want to have a state-paid long-term care program, fine. Be honest about it and take it out of taxes. But selling this as an insurance program is ludicrous. If Mutual of Omaha wanted to charge me that much in premiums for a benefit cap that low, I bet Kreidler would be all over them.

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