Wednesday, October 2, 2013
NOTE: Coverage of the Republican government shutdown is here.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
► From AP — WA health exchange website hits snag on first day — The website for Washington state’s new health exchange got off to a rough start Tuesday, going offline for nearly six hours after officials shut it down to assess why it was operating so slowly. A spokesman said at midday Tuesday that the problem was not related to the volume of visitors or to the federal government shutdown. The wahealthplanfinder.org website opened again for business at around 2 p.m.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The site continues to perform sluggishly this morning. But gleeful government-bashing right-wing bloggers are forgetting to mention that the state government contracted out the design, maintenance and operation of this website to the private sector. In our case, it’s Deloitte Consulting that got the lucrative deal.
► In The Hill — A rocky start for Obamacare enrollment — Technical setbacks appeared to be rampant in the new exchanges, hampering users’ ability to enroll. Several of the sites were inaccessible during the day.
► In today’s Olympian — State, unions reach health care deal that includes wellness — Negotiators for more than two dozen public-sector labor unions and Gov. Jay Inslee struck an agreement late Tuesday that largely maintains current benefits and worker share of health care costs. Both parties say details remain to be worked out on a wellness plan that would steer workers toward more healthful activities and lower costs.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand:
State employee health care deal looks like win-win for both sides (by Brendan Williams)
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Hospital pickets protest cutbacks — Dozens of protesters picketed Deaconess and Valley hospitals on Tuesday, accusing management of staff cuts that affect patient care. Some nurses (SEIU Healthcare 1199NW) worry that shrinking staff has forced them into administrative duties such as answering phones and processing orders rather than caring for patients. (Also see coverage from KHQ TV.)
► In today’s Columbian — U.S. lawmakers ask trade official to address longshore lockout — Several members of Congress have asked U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to use negotiations over a new free trade agreement to help resolve the seven-month-long lockout of union dockworkers at facilities in Vancouver and Portland, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said in a news release Tuesday.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Some farmers say coal terminal would benefit agriculture — A number of Mid-Columbia farmers showed support for a proposed Western Washington coal export terminal, saying it would benefit agriculture at a Tuesday hearing in Pasco. About 250 people attended the hearing at the TRAC center to weigh in on an environmental study for the facility, the third of five planned hearings on the Millennium Bulk Terminals project.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Bellingham Technical College board approves contracts reached during strike — Bellingham Technical College finalized contract agreements late Monday, Sept. 30, with two unions that represent the college’s faculty and classified, clerical, technical, instructional and retail support staff.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Millennium coal terminal review ahead of schedule, officials say — Commissioners approved a new agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday, acknowledging that the corps will now do its own environmental report on the proposed terminal west of Longview.
► In today’s News Tribune — 16 deputies lose jobs at Pierce County Jail — Sixteen corrections deputies at the Pierce County Jail were laid off effective Wednesday as part of a $3 million budget cut.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Will 777X land here? An exec’s long pause — Boeing Senior Vice President Pat Shanahan, who is general manager of commercial-airplane programs, sat silently in front of aerospace executives and civic leaders for nearly half a minute before carefully saying what everyone assumed: No decision’s been made. “You can quote me on this,” he said at the Governor’s Aerospace Summit. “We’ll be very thoughtful to not repeat some of the experiences with the 787.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s economic impact on state estimated at $70B — As a preface to the campaign to win local work on the next Boeing jet, a new report commissioned by advocates for the aerospace industry estimates the jet-maker directly and indirectly injected $70 billion into the local economy last year.
► In The Hill — House Dems to roll out immigration package — The bill reportedly will be similar to a package passed through the Senate earlier this year that included a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally.
► In today’s NY Times — In banking, should there be a ‘public option’? — Only one U.S. state, North Dakota, owns a bank. But that bank has been so successful — and the financial systems elsewhere have been so problematic — that 22 other legislatures (including Washington’s) have considered starting similar state banks. Would government-owned banks distort the free market, or complement private lending? If states or the federal government set up banks, should they lend directly to consumers and businesses?
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.