Thu, Dec 3, 2020
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Inslee wary of pending ACA lawsuit amid Supreme Court nomination

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Through mid-afternoon Sunday, a total of 530 coronavirus were confirmed in Washington, bringing the total number of diagnoses to 98,201, including 2,239 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. At least 8,018 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus. The state no longer reports deaths on weekends. Saturday, state health officials confirmed 777 new COVID-19 cases. State health officials confirmed 709 new COVID-19 cases in Washington on Friday afternoon.

What's at Stake

While the U.S. Senate conducts hearings on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the lawsuit deciding the fate of Affordable Care Act (California v. Texas) will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in less than a month, which puts the future of the law and the health care of millions in peril.

According to Gov. Jay Inslee, if the court overturns the Affordable Care Act, the impacts to Washington would be widespread and devastating. Despite the state's efforts to enact many of the ACA protections into state law, overturning the ACA would be financially catastrophic to the state and its residents. It would be especially damaging as Washingtonians continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Washington's U.S. Senators, Inslee, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and Washington Health Benefit Exchange CEO Pam MacEwan detailed what's at risk in the highly anticipated court case.

They laid out that if the Affordable Care Act is overturned, Washington state will lose $4.2 billion annually in federal funds and more than 750,000 could lose coverage.

"That a decision could be made in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and our nation's ongoing efforts to recover only intensifies the harm. More than 90,000 Washingtonians will have a new pre-existing condition this year after having been diagnosed with COVID-19," the leaders wrote. "This would have massive implications for people who rely on the law's reforms, such as women and older adults. A court decision that makes coverage unaffordable for many would effectively undermine these consumer protections and erode the safety net we have fought to preserve."

Extensions on Evictions

Gov. Inslee announced extensions of the eviction moratorium and public utility proclamations last Wednesday as COVID-19 impacts the finances of Washingtonians statewide. Both proclamations were extended to the end of 2020.

The extension of the eviction moratorium makes modifications to the prior moratorium, including:

* Clarifying that tenant behavior which is imminently hazardous to the physical safety of other persons on the premises is included among the existing permissible reasons for seeking to evict a tenant.

* Authorizing landlords and property owners to send advance notices of future rent increases in limited circumstances, as long as the notice clearly provides that the rent increase will not go into effect until after the moratorium expires.

* Establishing clearer guidance on permissible communications between landlords and tenants.

* Requiring that any 60-day notice to vacate if an owner intends to occupy or sell the premises must be in the form of an affidavit signed under penalty of perjury.

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