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Raúl's Running

Fresh off his "nobody dies" comments, Labrador announces for Idaho governor; plus, if you want to run for office, it's nearly time to file

Idaho's right-wing representative hopes to become governor.
  • Idaho's right-wing representative hopes to become governor.

GIVE IT TO ME STRAIGHT, DOC

"I get calls almost every day asking me to run for governor," Idaho Rep. RAÚL LABRADOR told the Inlander four years ago. Now, he finally is. He announced his run for governor on Tuesday, just a day after CNN's Chris Cillizza chose Labrador as having had "The Worst Week in Washington" for his widely mocked comments that "nobody dies because they don't have access to health care."

On Monday, Labrador acknowledged that his comment "wasn't very elegant," but emphasized that "all hospitals are required by law to treat patients in need of emergency care regardless of their ability to pay."

Conservatives have pointed to the study of the Oregon Medicaid expansion, which concluded that the benefits of health insurance had "no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first two years." But Politifact, in its "Pants on Fire" rating regarding Labrador's comments, cited seven different studies making the case that tens of thousands of people who lack health insurance die every year in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Eastern Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers penned an editorial for the Washington Post titled, "My son has a preexisting condition. He's one of the reasons I voted for the AHCA," arguing that the bill would help protect her son Cole, who was born with Down syndrome.

But her claim that the GOP guaranteed "that access to health coverage can't be denied for people with preexisting conditions" sparked a wave of criticism. True, the House bill would still bar insurers from outright denying coverage for preexisting conditions. But an amendment allows states to seek waivers exempting them from certain requirements of the health care law, setting up a scenario where people with preexisting conditions could suddenly find themselves paying a lot more on the individual market for their health care if they go more than 63 days without health insurance, even taking into account the $8 billion in subsidies the bill sets aside for those with skyrocketing premiums.

"People with serious health conditions would face prohibitively high premiums," writes Matthew Fiedler, a fellow with the Center for Health Policy in the Brookings Institution's Economic Studies Program. And that, he warns, could destroy "any meaningful guarantee that seriously ill people can access coverage." (DANIEL WALTERS)

FILING WEEK

Candidates can officially file online to RUN FOR OFFICE starting at 9 am on Monday, May 15; they have to get those forms and fees in before 4 pm on Friday, May 19.

Dozens of local offices are up this year, with most cities electing council members as well as mayors. A variety of school board positions, judges, and fire, water and cemetery district positions will be on the ballot as well.

In Spokane, the city council positions currently held by Amber Waldref (District 1), Breean Beggs (District 2), and Candace Mumm (District 3) are up.

In the 7th Legislative District, which covers parts or all of Ferry, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane and Stevens counties, the positions held by State Sen. Shelly Short, R-Addy, and Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, R-Republic, are up for election. Short left the House early this year when she was appointed to the Senate seat that Brian Dansel left in order to take a position with the Trump administration. Maycumber, Short's legislative assistant, was appointed to the House seat soon after.

The mayors of Cheney, Deer Park, Medical Lake, Millwood, Fairfield, Latah, Rockford and Waverly all have races to run this year.

A list of all the offices up for election, specific filing fees, and more information about how to file can be found at spokanecounty.org/315/Online-Candidate-Filing. Local candidates should file with the Spokane County Elections Office, and pay their filing fee online or in person at 1033 W. Gardner Ave. State candidates should file with the Secretary of State's office. (SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL)