Letters to the Editor for June 30, 2015

GMA justifies politicians’ self-seeking agendas

In case you didn’t stay for the vote on the Green Mountain PRD, the Camas Planning Commissioners could care less about what their public had to say. After the chair said they would wait till the end of the week to render a decision, they voted unanimously to recommend the Green Mountain PRD to the City Council.

There were cracks detected in some of the commissioners comments, but, in the end, they towed the line of unanimity. Staff used the Growth Management Act to justify its developmental recommendations — the alleged mandates of the GMA. None of my “specific” questions or quotes by staff pointed out in my testimony were addressed by any the powers that be.

The Growth Management Act has become the 12-headed monster of Washington State. With even more tentacles than heads, it now rationalizes nearly any government action taken by legislators since its inception. There is probably even GMA law on mom, apple pie and educating children. If a politician can’t or won’t respond to criticism, they invariable blame it on the mandates of the GMA.

On June 16, the city of Camas’s heart and soul may have died. We shall see what the council does, but it is apparent that laws that were created under the GMA to protect the citizens of Washington are now being used to justify politicians self-seeking agendas.

The Green Mountain area of Clark County should never have been included in Camas’s Urban Growth Area since there are no urban services there and the conforming lots there are one to five acres. The area clearly has a decidedly rural flavor. Urban Growth Area, please.

It appears that the planning commission will get what it wants, but remember the old adage. “Be careful what you ask for.” There you have it. New dense construction as far as the eye can see. More noise and traffic congestion, more trying to keep up with needed infrastructure improvements–the antithesis of intelligent growth.

Alleged mitigations buried in bureaucratic babble, that don’t really exist except on paper. If Camas really cared about their citizens, perhaps they would have painted a new stop bar on Northeast Ingle Road and Northeast Goodwin intersection where they have known about the danger of this intersection for more than a year. Perhaps, they can call for a new commission to investigate this situation and hide the results in bureaucratic babble. They can inform the public of their intent by sending out notices to residents within 300 feet. Oh yeah, that’s right no one lives within 300 feet of that intersection. After all, it is still a rural area. The politicians can take no proactive measure yet again. I feel better.

Mark Martin, Camas

SCOBA decision could make health care workable

The Supreme Court of the United States has just released their opinion in the King v. Burwell case concerning a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and ruled that subsidies will continue to be available in all states, not just those with state-based exchanges. The vote was 6-3.

The Court considered two possible scenarios in its decision: adhere to the strict reading of the law that subsidies may only be available in exchanges established by the state, or rule in favor of the intent of the law for universal availability of subsidies in all states and all exchanges.

Following this ruling in favor of the administration to allow for premium subsidies to be distributed through both federally-facilitated and state-based exchanges, the implementation of PPACA will continue and its insurance reform provisions will remain in effect. Since the continuity of subsidies in all exchanges is no longer in question, it is our hope that legislation to make health reform more workable for both individual and business consumers of health insurance will now be able to gain traction and move forward in Congress.

Our hope is that policymakers will now be able to focus on legislative efforts to truly reduce the cost of health care, something that the PPACA did not. It’s also critical that lawmakers improve upon the portions of our health care system that work well. The employer-based system has reliably and effectively delivered quality health coverage to generations of Americans. And we as a nation need to work to preserve it.

Every day, health insurance agents and brokers work to obtain insurance for clients who are struggling to balance their desire to purchase high-quality and comprehensive health coverage with the reality of rapidly escalating health premium costs. As such, one of our primary goals as an association of benefit specialists is to do everything we can to promote affordable access to health insurance coverage.

Kathy Frazier, President of Tri-County Association of Health Underwriters