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Do you think your hospital is safe?

The old model of health care as simply a business of revenue versus expense is inherently flawed, where “revenue” is a sick patient. It certainly cannot be fixed solely by cutting the portion of “expenses” that is the team who cares for the patient. Unless both patients and providers stand up for the community, that is exactly what will continue to happen.

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Why would Kreidler upend AHPs?

Rather than applaud association health plans for providing coverage, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is moving against them, stripping people of their coverage. In these uncertain times when the Affordable Care Act is struggling and key parts of it are being challenged in court, that just doesn’t make sense.

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Halting oil trains is not an option

Stopping rail shipments of crude oil and hazardous cargo is not a viable option. It is better to strengthen railroad beds, replace aging track and bridges, enact better safety standards, increase inspections, continue to train emergency responders and invest in new technology and modern equipment.

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Franchises are small businesses

Like the coffee vendor in the lobby of Trump Tower, they’re not global business magnates, they’re small business owners trying to make a living. Seattle politicians should treat them as such.

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Minimum wage hike misses target

If we truly want to help people move up the economic ladder, isn’t it better to provide incentives that reward them for getting the education and skills they’ll need in order to succeed?

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Can Washington avoid water war?

Finding enough clean fresh water is a worldwide challenge as population, food production and industries expand. That’s a long-term issue, but for now, competing interests in our state must find ways to avert what is going on in California.

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We need to keep our ports open

As a farmer, I understand the extent to which Central Washington depends on a steady supply chain to export those goods. The full impact of the port slowdown on future business has yet to be felt, and it will come at a high cost.

Don’t let Ex-Im be political battle

We’re all familiar with car loans and home mortgages. They make it possible for consumers to make major purchases without paying cash up front.

Flag should be protected

June 14th commemorates “Flag Day,” a day when millions of Americans, schools, government buildings, businesses, and grave sites will display the symbol that captures the spirit of American ideals and freedoms – the American flag.

Grads: Seize opportunity

The month of June brings a stream of graduation ceremonies and festivities. It is truly a rewarding and exciting time for graduates and their families as personal struggles are overcome and goals are reached.

Look to private sector to cut emissions

President Obama is expected to announce a new set of regulations to limit carbon emissions from coal-powered power plants – the nation’s single largest source of affordable electricity. The impact won’t hit just coal; these regulations will affect every energy user, including you.

Learn from cooperation

Billy Frank Jr. and Stu Bledsoe came from very different backgrounds, yet their friendship and determination laid the groundwork for what today is known as the Forests and Fish agreement. Those accords paved the way to revitalized wild salmon habitats, cleaner water and better forest management.

Constituents ask questions

Each month I receive thousands of emails, phone calls, letters, tweets and Facebook messages. Here are a few questions I have received recently: What is being done to hold former IRS official, Lois Lerner, and the Obama Administration accountable for their continued overreaching actions? When concerns were raised about IRS officials targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, several House Committees – including the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which I serve on – began investigating. Unfortunately, when Ms. Lerner testified in May 2013 and again in March, she refused to answer questions or shed light on the necessary information to evaluate the degree of wrongdoing by the IRS. Congress has a clear constitutional duty to conduct robust oversight of the executive branch and to ensure the laws are being faithfully executed. Given her ongoing refusal to cooperate, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted earlier this month to hold Ms. Lerner in contempt of Congress. The motion will now go before the full House of Representatives for approval. As the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, I have overseen numerous investigations into the Obama Administration and can tell you firsthand that it is failing to live up to its promise of being the most open and transparent administration in history. What is Congress doing to get more Americans back to work? House Republicans’ focus remains on creating jobs and growing our economy. One common sense way to support small business job creators is to eliminate burdensome red tape and excessive government regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive. The House passed several bills to halt some of the Obama Administration’s most damaging regulations and ensure Congress gets final say on new rules that will have a major impact on the economy. In addition, the House has passed a number of bipartisan measures to create jobs and unlock America’s energy potential – including approving the Keystone pipeline, which is shovel-ready and has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs. Finally, the House is working to eliminate barriers to trade by creating new opportunities for our growers and manufacturers to compete in a global marketplace, and we are working to fix the tax code to improve competitiveness. Rep. Doc Hastings represents Washington’s 4th Congressional District, including part of Okanogan County.

Kudos to our volunteers

I have served on the Omak City Council for approximately seven years now, and the one major item that continues to astound me is our volunteers.

Tonasket Food Bank needs help

Once more, the Tonasket Food Bank may have to find a new home. Our board of directors are faced with a choice of finding another location or purchasing the building currently used.

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