The focus on health care. Plus: stimulus dollars, budget cuts in Oregon and sacred cows in WA’s budget

February 24, 2009 | Alex Stone

Bills address broadening health care: Lawmakers moved bills Monday that would expand the Health Care Authority’s role in providing health insurance, including offering public school teachers coverage like state employees.

Health care costs to top $8,000 per person: A new government report on medical costs paints a stark picture for President Barack Obama, who is expected to call for a health care overhaul in a speech Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress.

Obama’s focus to shift to health care: President Obama will convene a White House meeting next week to address runaway health-care costs. On Monday he called it key to reining in federal spending as he tries to balance plans to spend the country out of a recession with shoring up its long-term fiscal health.

Gregoire: Send stimulus ‘my way’: While some of her Republican colleagues try to decide whether to accept federal stimulus money, Gov. Chris Gregoire said her mind is already made up.

Oregon braces for huge cuts: If Oregonians think state budget cuts are deep already, they’d better brace themselves for more. “We ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” state Sen. Betsy Johnson told about two dozen people at a forum here Saturday.

No sacred cows: Gov. Chris Gregoire, in her state of the state address last month, challenged lawmakers looking to fill a then-$6 billion budget hole to “put our sacred cows out to pasture forever.” It got The News Tribune’s editorial board wondering what those sacred cows might be, and who would be willing to name them.

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Posted in Health Care, State Economy, Tax and Budget, Work & Family

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