Governor Christine Gregoire, moving quickly, has ordered the state Department of Social and Health Services to reverse Medicaid rules back to requiring recipients to prove their eligibility once a year instead of every six months. The winners are an estimated nearly 20,000 children in low-income families who will be returning to participation in this state-federal health coverage program for children. Some of those are children of mothers and fathers visiting Valley food banks weekly for groceries to feed their families.
Gregoire could have waited to include this change in her budget proposal due late next month, but then there would have been a wait until July 1 for the change to become effective. Gregoire said, “I decided I could not wait.” She’s showing “heart” will be at the top of her political priorities in Olympia.
Additionally, Gregoire has already rolled out plans proposing legislation for private employers, especially small businesses, to buy health insurance through the state government’s insurance programs. According to Gregoire, 600,000 Washington residents are uninsured and a growing number of private employers offer no coverage. It’s not because the employers don’t want to, it’s simply they can’t afford it. Finding a way to make this coverage affordable is “smart” politics that should be welcome by numerous small businesses offering minimum wage employment with no added benefits.
Some rural area Democrats are pushing hard to force the King County Council and executive to recognize the unfairness to longtime rural landowners of some of the provisions in the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) – and change those rules. The effect of CAO provisions ignoring two basic related principles of regulatory legislation is at the root of the issue.
One is the so-called “grandfather” rights recognizing citizens must be able to rely on the rules governing their property rights at the time of purchase. The other is the right to fair compensation when grandfather rights are ignored and superseded by new ordinances. When the public interest unexpectedly detrimentally overrides a landowner’s long held value interest, a form of confiscation results demanding fair monetary compensation.
“Heart and Smart” politics cries out for revision of the CAO to achieve fairness to King County’s longtime rural landowners. For those dejected readers who have owned rural land in the Valley for decades, there should be hope that “help is on the way.”