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Washington State News

Rep. Peter Abbarno Prefiles Legislation to Repeal WA Cares Long-Term Care Program, Payroll Tax

OLYMPIA – Lawmakers in the state Legislature began prefiling bills this week for introduction in the 2023 session, which begins January 9th. One of those bills would repeal the state’s new long-term care insurance and payroll tax, which is scheduled to take effect in July. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

John Sattgast at the State Capital reported Thursday that the controversial WA Cares program was put on temporary hold by lawmakers during the 2022 session last January, while a state commission works out its problems. That commission has a lengthy list of recommendations for the coming session. But State Representative Peter Abbarno of Centralia says there are too many flaws that can’t be fixed with “patchwork legislation.”

“Long-term care is important. But this program is not the answer, and actually gives false hope that your long-term care needs will be met. In reality, you may end up paying into this system more than you receive in benefits and get very short-term relief from long-term care.”

To date, nearly 480-thousand people in Washington with private long-term care insurance have opted out of the state program. Beginning in July, workers who have not opted out will have to pay 58 cents for every one-hundred dollars they earn from their paychecks.

Legislation prefiled by Abbarno would repeal what he says is an “unpopular, insolvent and regressive” program.