Sunday, February 25, 2024

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, December 15, 2023

RPEC Weekly NewsFlash, December 15, 2023

Register for 2024 Legislative Day

The new year is creeping up fast, along with legislative session beginning on January 8. Time is running out to register for our annual RPEC/WEA-R Joint Legislative Day, set for January 22, 2024!

The day-long event begins at the Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake, where the Legislative Committee chairs from RPEC and the Washington Education Association – Retired (WEA-R) will lead a training session on how to speak with your legislators about issues that are important to retirees. You and other constituents from your legislative district will review your meeting schedule and materials to devise a game plan over a working lunch. From there, you will bus to the Capitol to meet with your legislators and urge them to support our shared legislative priorities. Please note that there is no reception this year.

The last day to register is January 3, 2024. For more information and to register, visit https://rpecwa.org/2024-rpec-wea-retired-legislative-day/. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet face-to-face with your legislators and advocate with other public sector retirees to accomplish our goals.

If you have questions or need help with registration, please contact Admin. Project Coordinator Alissa Brady at (360) 352-8262, ext. 100, or alissa.brady@rpecwa.org.

Governor’s Budget Includes PEBB Subsidy Increase and Pension Fix, But No Plan 1 COLA

On December 13, 2023, Governor Jay Inslee released his 2024 supplemental budget proposal.  The budget, which the Governor is required to create each December, is essentially a funding request to the Washington State Legislature.  It includes funding for two of RPEC’s key priorities, but declines to fund a one-time cost of living adjustment (COLA) for PERS 1 and TRS 1 retirees in 2024.

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House Passes Bill Benefitting Retirees on Medicare

On December 11, the House passed H.R. 5378, the Improving Health Care Transparency bill.  In addition to increasing health care cost transparency, the bill aims to lower some costs for Medicare patients. The bill is sponsored by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) from Washington’s Congressional Delegation. The bill provides statutory authority for regulations that require hospitals to annually publish their prices and related information, including the discounted cash price and negotiated charges. The bill also specifically extends these requirements to clinical laboratories, imaging service providers, and ambulatory surgical centers that participate in Medicare. Additionally, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) must semiannually report to health plan sponsors on the number and types of claims for covered drugs, including whether the drugs were brand-name or generic drugs and associated costs. Contracts with PBMs for employer-sponsored health plans must also allow health plan fiduciaries to audit certain claims and cost information without undue restrictions.

The bill will remain on RPEC’s watch list as it moves to the Senate for consideration, debate and action.

In the meantime, RPEC will be sending a letter of thanks to Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers for her leadership on this issue. If your chapter is located in the 5th Congressional District, please reach out to her office to express your thanks as a constituent.

Council Office Holiday Closure

The Council Office will be closed for the winter holidays from December 25 – January 1. We will respond to calls and emails received during that time when we return on January 2.

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to another year of success!

Upcoming Events:

Please refer to our calendar page for more information about each event, including links to Zoom meetings, if available.

  • Dec. 18 – Senior Lobby (10:00 am)
  • Dec. 25 – Jan. 1 – Council Office Closed, Winter Holidays
  • Jan. 3 – Legislative Day Registration Deadline
  • Jan. 8 – Start of Legislative Session
  • Jan. 11 – Healthcare Workgroup (3:30 pm)
  • Jan. 12 – Legislative Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
  • Jan. 13 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
  • Jan. 15 – Council Office Closed, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Jan. 19 – Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)

Your Voice for Retirement Security!

 

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