RPEC Weekly ACTION Newsletter – 1-24-2020
In This Edition
- Bills Impacting Retirees
- Plan 1 COLA Update
- WA State Legislative Bill Summary
Bills Impacting Retirees
RPEC is tracking numerous bills that impact public sector retirees in all retirement plans. Here are some updates on bills we are supporting.
HB 1562/SB 5601- Concerning health care benefit management
This bill establishes a system of oversight and regulation for Benefit Managers, who often act as a hidden middleman between health insurers, providers, and patients. They are currently able to generate large profits for themselves with little to no regulation at the state level. RPEC supports this bill because it has the potential to decrease health care costs for all retirees regardless of retirement plan.
The House bill received a hearing in the Committee on Health Care & Wellness on January 21st and the Senate companion bill is scheduled for a hearing on in the Committee on Health & Long Term on January 31st.
SB 6113- Creating a central insulin purchasing program
This would create a work group to study the feasibility of utilizing the purchasing power of the state to bulk purchase insulin on behalf of all Washingtonians. Currently, those who rely on insulin are often unable to afford their supply due to price increases. RPEC supports this legislation because it would result in lower costs to retirees who rely on insulin to survive and are currently being fleeced by drug companies.
This bill was passed out of the Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care and has been referred to Ways & Means.
HB 1317/SB 5392 – Establishing the profession of dental therapist
This bill creates licensing and training requirements for Dental Therapists, who will be allowed to perform routine dental services under the supervision of Dentist practice. RPEC supports this bill because it will improve access to dental care for retirees who are locked out of the dental system, including those without dental insurance coverage.
The House Bill has been referred to the Rules Committee for a possible floor vote, while the Senate Companion has been referred to the Health & Long Term Care Committee.
Plan 1 COLA Update:
On January 15th, RPEC Vice President Nancy Heley testified before the Senate Ways & Means Committee regarding SB 6155, which would provide a one-time 1.5% increase for PERS/TRS Plan 1 retirees, with a cap of $22.
RPEC is officially neutral on this bill. Given the loss of purchasing power Plan 1 retirees have experienced a $22 per month increase does not go far enough to prevent further erosion of their pensions.
RPEC instead encourages the Legislature to pass HB 1390/SB 5400 which would provide a more substantial increase of 3%, capped at $62.50 per month.
ACTION: Please call your Legislators at 1-800-562-6000 and ask them to support HB 1390/SB 5400, a much needed 3% increase for Plan 1 retirees.
WA State Legislative Bill Summary
If you are interested in seeing the full list of bills we are tracking, please visit the link below.
Here is a link to the list of bills currently of focus to RPEC: http://www.rpecwa.org/bill-summary-1-24-2020/
Full Text and updates on these bills can be found by searching for the bill number at: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/