January 11, 2016
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As President Obama vetoes ACA repeal, millions choose IRS fines as more affordable than health insurance

President Barack Obama vetoed a bill on Friday that would have repealed his signature achievement. The Affordable Care Act will remain the law of the land, but its impacts – including a mandate requiring that people purchase health insurance, continue to be felt in new ways.

The New York Times reports that millions of people who can’t afford health insurance are opting to instead pay hundreds of dollars in penalties to the IRS, finding that a more affordable option. The newspaper cited a Texas engineer who will pay an $1,800 fine for going uninsured, but who says that’s cheaper than paying $2,900 or more for insurance.

“I don’t see the logic behind that, and I’m just not going to do it,” said the 45-year-old, who became uninsured in April after leaving a job with health benefits to pursue contract work. “The fine is still going to be cheaper.”

With health insurance costs continuing to soar, and federal subsidies under the ACA shrinking, The Wall Street Journal reports that more people are turning to faith-based groups for health coverage.

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Costly Carbon Cap Sends Money Elsewhere

Ecology's Carbon Rule: A Money Transfer from Washington to California and Wall Street

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

Washington is one of the lowest-carbon states in the nation when it comes to emissions from road vehicles, electricity generation, manufacturing, or commercial and residential buildings. A combination of forward-thinking policies and innovation has reduced our carbon emissions below what they were in 1990 and created a clear and downward trend into the future. We fully expect the state to meet its emissions goals for 2020, which is to have Greenhouse Gas emissions reduced to 1990 levels. All of us -- families, farmers, workers and employers -- are invested in protecting our environment, and it shows in the many ways this success has been achieved.

The reality of this makes Gov. Jay Inslee's proposed carbon cap all the more puzzling. A year ago, he submitted a cap and trade proposal to the Washington State Legislature that would have created a $1.3 billion energy tax on Washington consumers. His most ardent supporters in the Capitol saw the problems with implementing this policy, and his proposal failed to even get a vote.

Click here to read the full blog post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
The TPP is Good for Washington

Ratify Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact

By The Herald Editorial Board

More than 40 percent of all jobs in the state are tied to trade, reports the Washington Council on International Trade. The state Department of Commerce reports that state exports topped $90.5 billion in 2014, a 10 percent increase over 2013. On a per capita basis, the state agency says, Washington state is the nation's largest exporter.

Washington state and many of its businesses and workers now also stand to benefit following the completion this fall of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries, the largest trading partners being Japan, Australia, Canada and Mexico. President Barack Obama is expected to put the pact before Congress later this year for either its approval or its rejection.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Herald
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