November 21, 2016
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Federal Issues

What will be the impact of a Trump administration on health insurance?

Plans are underway in Congress to have a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on President-Elect Trump's desk in the early days of his administration -- perhaps as early as inauguration day.

Sheri Nelson, AWB government affairs director for health care issues, said that last year, the Senate passed a reconciliation bill entitled, “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015,” which also passed the House but was vetoed by President Barack Obama.

"President-Elect Trump would probably support a similar bill as long as it includes his proposals to encourage Health Savings Accounts, allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines and converting Medicaid from an entitlement program to a block grant to states," Nelson said. "There are some components of the ACA, however, that cannot be repealed through reconciliation such as reforms to the Medicare program, coverage for young adults on their parents plan, and denying insurance due to preexisting conditions. These parts of the law will remain intact without a complete repeal of the ACA."

Politico reports that Republicans plan to begin the process of repealing some or all the ACA immediately once President-Elect Donald Trump is sworn in. The repeal could be delayed a year or more to allow for a replacement to be put into place, officials say.

“We need immediate relief, we need to act quickly,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions. “But we may have to complete the repeal step by step because Obamacare was not passed with 51 votes; it was passed with 60 votes. And we’ll need 60 votes to finally change it.”

More than 20 million Americans have gained insurance coverage since the ACA's enactment, the New England Journal of Medicine reports in a big-picture story about the politics and health implications of Obamacare under a Trump administration:

"It is uncertain which parts of the ACA will survive past 2017 and what will follow it. What is certain is that Obamacare as we know it will end."

That will surely have an impact in Washington.

Washington Healthplanfinder, this state's ACA marketplace, has seen an increase in enrollments. More than 1.7 million Washingtonians have enrolled in health insurance coverage on the state's Obamacare exchange in 2016. Enrollment is open now until Jan. 31, 2017, for 2017 coverage. Of the current 1.7 million enrollees, over 70 percent receive some level of premium tax subsidy.

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Focus on Sustainability

Feed Commodities LLC: Giving Unused Bakery Goods a New Life

This Tacoma company helps divert past-its-prime food from the landfill to ranchers, feeding cattle across the Northwest.

From Salem, Ore., to the Canadian border, Feed Commodities, LLC is the Pacific Northwest's premier recycler of bakery byproducts into livestock feeds. The company acquires otherwise unusable raw bakery goods around the Pacific Northwest to process at its Tacoma facility. Each month, the plant repurposes thousands of tons of bakery products that would otherwise end up in landfills, turning it into high-quality livestock feed sold in bulk to ranchers.

The company has also taken the lead in food waste reduction through the development of Normandy Waste Management Systems, a web-based software service designed to help the food production community learn how to track and reduce waste in their daily operations.

Read the full story in Washington Business Magazine
Time to Build Millennium Bulk Terminals

Still waiting for good jobs in Cowlitz County

By Mike Bridges, president of the Longview/Kelso Building and Construction Trades Council

Millennium's $680 million private investment stands to create more than 1,000 union construction jobs over a two-year build-out under a Project Labor Agreement. That's also 135 permanent jobs when the facility is complete and 2,650 direct and indirect construction jobs overall. And that doesn't count the ongoing maintenance work that would employ different trades for years to come. For Cowlitz County, this represents a significant private investment that would have an enormous economic impact on thousands of tradespeople and their families. All told, Millennium would bring in $43.1 million in state and local taxes during construction, and $5.4 million in state and local taxes each year when fully operational.

It would also mean fewer people on the road, working closer to home.

Right now, most of our tradesmen and women work outside of Cowlitz County. Many work out of state, driving home on weekends or once a month for visits. I get so tired of people criticizing these Millennium jobs as "temporary." Anyone in the trades knows our work is always "temporary." And for someone who drives thousands of miles each month to a job in Montana, visiting their kids once a month back home in Kelso, the promise of a local "temporary" job sounds pretty appealing...

Read the full column in The Stand
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