January 9, 2017
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Regulatory panel endorses Kaiser acquisition of Group Health; insurance commissioner has final call

The acquisition of Group Health Cooperative by Kaiser Permanente moved one step closer to completion last week. Accountants, lawyers and other experts within the Office of the Insurance Commissioner endorsed the deal last week, saying it would neither lessen competition nor be hazardous to the public.

Insurance Commissioner Kreidler has the final say on the Kaiser acquisition proposal. Kaiser Permanente would pay Group Health $1.8 billion and pledge another $1 billion over 10 years to improve facilities and technology.

Kaiser executive Susan Mullaney said no jobs would be lost in the deal, that Kaiser would honor all existing union contracts, and nonunion employees would see no changes in the first nine months after the acquisition was approved.

Kreidler is expected to make his final decision on the acquisition by the end of the month.

For more information on health care issues, contact Government Affairs Director Sheri Nelson at 360.943.1600.

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Sustainability in Action

Port Townsend Paper: Renewable and Responsible Fiber Products

By Washington Business magazine

Port Townsend Paper recycles enough cardboard each week to cover a football field 10 feet deep. That chain of renewable paper production includes fiber sourced from certified and sustainable forestry operations for any needs that can't be met by recycled paper.

The company is also an emissions reduction leader. Port Townsend Paper has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent over the past decade by reducing the use of fossil fuels, efficiency improvements, and use of renewable and carbon-neutral biomass.
Read the full article in Washington Business magazine
Rural Washington Is Still Trying to Recover

Don't let McCleary hurt rural economy

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We are a hopeful and hard-working nation. We have proved time and time again that when we come together, we are unstoppable.

After the difficult national election, we believe this is the message that can help move our nation and state forward. And we believe employers are the solution to help heal the divide and restore hope to communities still awaiting the economic recovery.

Employers -- the millions of risk-takers that create opportunity and build communities across this nation -- have a unique responsibility to ensure we send a message that we are committed to be a unifying voice that can, with words and actions, unify the country behind our shared goals.
Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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