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Posts published in “Day: March 21, 2010”

The health bill: NW votes

And how did the Northwest delegation vote on the health care bill? Well, it was party-line, with one exception.

The yes votes:

Washington: Inslee, Larsen, Baird, Dicks, McDermott, Smith.

Oregon: Wu, Bluemenauer, DeFazio, Schrader.

The no votes:

Washington: Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Reichert.

Oregon: Walden.

Idaho: Minnick, Simpson. Minnick was the one Northwest Democrat to vote in opposition; all Republicans from the region did so.

A Washington difference

The Oregon Legislature last year passed tax increases proposed by majority Democrats, two measures of which were placed on the ballot and upheld by voters in January. The political upshot of all that seems likely to lend some political support to the legislature's Democrats; they seem unlikely, as matters stand, to lose many seats in November.

Will that hold true in Washington state this cycle (as it did there too in 2006)? Jim Camden of the Spokane Spokesman-Review has a useful observation on that:

"They’re going to raise taxes, which ranks high on the list of things that get a politician removed from office. They may be right that they have almost no choice in the matter, but the way that they’ve gone about it – holding a quixotic hearing on an income tax, requiring repeated votes on bills tailor-made to wind up in GOP commercials, suspending rules – does little to mitigate the expected damage. Then there’s the $18,300 per day special session – at least that was the cost before a rush to refuse legislative per diems – that was supposed to be done in seven days."

A few differences. Washington Democrats may be doing themselves some damage for later in the year.

A health pretzel

The extent to which thinking about health policy has gotten twisted, on this day when a sweeping bill might be passed in the House, can be inferred from this quote from Representative Dave Reichert of Washington's 8th, like all other congressional Republicans a no vote:

"As an old Sheriff I know that if you arrest someone, they get free health care. So once we arrest these people, they'll have free health care. And then we'd have to release them because they'd be in compliance with the law. And then we'd have to rearrest them again. So this law makes no sense whatsoever."

There are all kinds of problems with this. But in his column today, the Seattle Times' Danny Westneat offered this one: "Good grief. What you get in jail is a doctor, not what is required by this bill, which is insurance. So his critique is what makes no sense whatsoever."