November 6, 2017
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Gov. Inslee appoints Susan Birch to lead Health Care Authority

Gov. Jay Inslee has tapped a longtime leader of Colorado health care coverage to lead the Washington Health Care Authority, the largest health care purchaser in the state.

Susan Birch will replace Lou McDermott, who has been serving as the interim director since Dorothy Frost Teeter stepped down on June 30. McDermott will become deputy director when Birch begins on Jan. 1.

Birch is currently the executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Policy and Financing. Over the past six years she has overseen public insurance, health delivery and policy development, and implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Colorado, The Puget Sound Business Journal reports.

"Under her leadership, Colorado expanded coverage and transformed its delivery system," Gov. Jay Inslee said.

The Health Care Authority buys health care for more than 2 million Washington residents through Apple Health (Medicaid) and the Public Employees Benefits Program.

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Manufacturing Week Tour

Manufacturing is huge in Washington. Let's celebrate -- and invest in it

By Kate Lampson and Kris Johnson

Manufacturing has a long history in Washington and it has a great story to tell: In Benton County, careers in manufacturing pay an average annual wage of $55,701, $50,575 in Walla Walla County and almost $41,000 in Franklin County. Not bad for jobs that often require no more than a trade certificate or a two-year degree. It also has a multiplier of three -- for every one job created in manufacturing, another three jobs are created elsewhere.

That's a good return on investment, but the sector faces some headwinds.

As manufacturing comes on a national resurgence, Washington's sector has lost about 48,000 jobs since 2000 -- the vast majority of which are non-aerospace jobs.

Clearly, more can be done to support good-paying manufacturing jobs here and across the state.

Read the full column in The Tri-City Herald
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