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All the talk for so many months now about a bum health insurance website and who did and didn’t live up to contracts really has missed the point. The big Oregon story today (following on an OHSU study) does highlight the important development in the changes in Oregon’s health insurance picture over the last year, since Obamacare has kicked in: The number of uninsured people in the state has fallen, from about 550,000 to 202,000 – by 63%. The state estimated that 95% of Oregonians now have health insurance coverage. That’s still not perfect, and the system still has some bugs crawling around. But getting about 350,000 more people insured in the course of a few months is a massive achievement, a big success story, and a much bigger deal than whether a few hyperlinks work right on a web site.

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

High occupancy in downtown Boise hotels (Boise Statesman)
Caldwell pays for study for future (Boise Statesman)
Washington state revenues shoot up (Lewiston Tribune)
New medical research clinic opens at Nampa (Nampa Press Tribune)
Stallings blasts Simpson on rural mail (TF Times News)
Hagerman faces sewer bond election (TF Times News)

Springfield mulls pot sales tax (Eugene Register Guard)
Task force has sexual assault ideas for UO (Eugene Register Guard)
New peaks for health coverage (Portland Oregonian, Salem Statesman Journal, KF Herald & News, Pendleton E Oregonian)
Completion of water project on Sprague River (KF Herald & News)
New One West Main building in Medford opens (Medford Tribune)
Medford may foreclosure on abandoned houses (Medford Tribune)
Medford may allow alcohol into city park (Medford Tribune)
Washington Co traffic turning nightmarish (Portland Oregonian)
New West Salem boundaries set (Salem Statesman Journal)

Pot tax revenues projected at $636m (Vancouver Columbian, Bremerton Sun, Olympian)
Reviewing Supreme Court decision on schools (Bremerton Sun)
Oso area highway back to full speed soon (Everett Herald)
Shelter may provide only food, fewer beds (Longview News)
Longview city manager Bob Gregory retires (Longview News)
State employee union works on new pay level (Olympian)
Seqium employee union ballot issue in court (Port Angeles News)
Tunnel work continues as Bertha sits still (Seattle Times)
Spokane diocese sues its own lawyers (Spokane Spokesman)
New earthquake detection system developed (Tacoma News Tribune)
Land developer, Vancouver port go at it (Vancouver Columbian)
Inactive Pot shops may lose place on list (Vancouver Columbian)
Moxee nutrient plans fined (Yakima Herald Republic)

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