June 10, 2019
Fast Facts
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Other News

Washington's health insurers propose record-low rate increases

The stability of Washington’s individual health insurance market has led to proposed rate increases that average less than 1 percent, The Seattle Times reports.

The proposal to raise rates in the individual market by an average of 0.96 percent comes after three years of major year-over-year increases.

“Today’s rate filings are a positive sign that the individual market is stabilizing, and families and individuals will be able to find more affordable coverage in the individual-health-insurance market,” CEO Pam MacEwan of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange said in a statement.

In 2019, people who bought insurance on the individual market faced an increase of almost 14 percent. In 2018, the increase was 24 percent, and in 2017, it was 11 percent.

Also, two more health insurance companies will offer plans on the individual market in 2020: PacificSource Health Plans and Providence Health Plan.

There are 201,416 people enrolled in the exchange this year, the newspaper reported.

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Housing Forum
Manufacturing Solutions

A way forward on immigration

By Edmund O. Schweitzer III and Jay Timmons

Manufacturers are in the business of building solutions. When we see a need to be filled or a problem to be solved, manufacturers go to work innovating and making the products that improve our daily lives. But we don't stop there. When we see our nation facing a challenge, we don't just call on our legislators to fix it; we also provide solutions.

That's exactly what manufacturers have done to help fix our nation's broken immigration system. Earlier this year, the National Association of Manufacturers released "A Way Forward," a plan for comprehensive immigration reform that bolsters border security while strengthening the economy and providing certainty for those immigrants who are anxious about their future...

Legislation soon up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and similar bills recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would provide a solution for these two populations, and manufacturers are calling on Congress to act swiftly. While this is not a comprehensive solution, these bills are a way to move our nation one step closer to a more functional immigration system, and for that reason, they should command strong, bipartisan support. It is simply the right thing to do...

Read the full op-ed in The Spokesman-Review
Unsustainable Budget Growth

State budget growth puts Washington in tight spot during next downturn

By AWB President Kris Johnson

State government will spend more than $52.8 billion over the next two years. This is an increase of about 18.3 percent over the previous two-year budget and one of the biggest increases in the last 25 years.

It's true there are many competing demands for resources, but lawmakers had $5.6 billion more to work with, before raising taxes. Rather than look for cost savings, they chose to raise more than $1 billion in new taxes.

It's a safe bet that most Washington families and small businesses did not increase their spending by 18.3 percent this year. This pace of expansion is unsustainable. When the tax collections drop, that usually means painful budget cuts and more tax increases.

Lawmakers made progress on important issues this year, but it came at a high cost. As they work through the interim and prepare for the next budget, our hope is that lawmakers will tap the brakes and slow the growth in state spending.

Washington has enjoyed years of strong economic growth, but we need to be prepared for the next downturn.

Read the full op-ed in The Wenatchee World
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