State Shutdown Looms as Legislature Continues Budget Negotiations
From Crosscut.com – The Washington Legislature is on track again to flirt with partly shutting down the state government on July 1 because no biennial budget will be passed by June 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. In both 2013 and 2015, the Legislature came within three days of a partial shutdown.
Lawmakers were supposed to finish their work in April, during their 105-day special session. But the Legislature has bogged down in each of the past three attempts to pass two-year budgets.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s administration has again started to study shutdown procedures.
Indeed, Inslee appears to be the most anxious of Capitol Dome denizens about getting the budget passed with a decent amount of time before the June 30 deadline. When he began the current 30-day special session last month — the second of the year — Inslee was loath to even talk about calling a third special session if the budget agreement is not made by June 22, the end of the second special session.
“There is no excuse not to get it done in the next 30 days,” Inslee said.
In 2015, the Legislature went into three special sessions. Although a budget agreement was reached on June 27, lawmakers took until July 9 to wrap up all the loose ends.
Inslee hated that whole 2015 scenario. “I don’t know what I’d do,” he said when asked how he would respond if the Legislature wanted to go beyond June 30 this year.
Potential Impacts On Retirees of Partial State Shutdown
Department of Social and Health Services
- Approximately 25,000 incapacitated adults will not receive basic cash or referrals to housing and other essential services.
Aging and Long-term Support Administration
- More than 50,000 of the state’s older residents will no longer receive meal services.
Health Care Authority
About 2.2 million individuals will be affected, including about 1.9 million Apple Health (Medicaid) clients and 370,000 Public Employees Benefits Board program enrollees.
- No payments will be made to providers offering services to Apple Health clients and PEBB enrollees. It is unclear how long these providers would be able to continue offering services without payment.
- No customer service staff will be available to help either Apple Health clients or PEBB enrollees.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Thousands of veterans and their families will experience disruptions in services that connect them to the benefits they earned.
U.S. Senate Continues SECRET Health Plan Repeal
From NBCNews.com – The Senate is closing in on a health care bill that could affect coverage for tens of millions of Americans and overhaul an industry that makes up one-sixth of the economy.
Only one problem: Almost no one knows what’s in it.
“I think it’s being written, uh, by someone somewhere but I’m not aware of who or where,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, deadpanned to NBC News. “If you get a copy of it, will you send me a copy?”
In a striking break from how Congress normally crafts legislation, including Obamacare, the Senate is conducting its negotiations behind closed doors. The process began five weeks ago, after the House passed its version of health care reform, with a small working group of 13 senators rather than the broader committees who usually handle the issue.
The opaque process makes it impossible to evaluate whether there are any significant changes coming to health care. There are no hearings with health experts, industry leaders, and patient advocacy groups to weigh in where the public can watch their testimony or where Democrats can offer amendments.
“We’ll let you see the bill when we finally release it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters on Tuesday. He added that “nobody is hiding the ball here” and that people were “free to ask anybody anything.”
Free to ask, but answers are another matter. – Read more here.
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