On January 27, 2022, Gov. Inslee signed into law, House Bill 1732. Initially slated to take effect in April 2022, the WA Cares Fund Tax has been delayed until July 2023. This long-term care program ensures elders and retired residents have access to proper care. The cost will be 0.58% from Washington employees’ paychecks.
Gov. Inslee delayed the implementation of the long-term care program so it can be refined and rolled out right. Healthcare is a vital aspect of any economy. And as anyone working in the industry knows, health is something you need to get right the first time.
Why are they delaying the WA Cares Fund?
The goal is to accommodate more Washington residents with the program. The closer the bill came to becoming a reality, the more it became clear the right people weren’t included in the program. Inslee called out how “by pausing and improving this important program, we’ve really made progress in just the last few days… we have to get this right because this is important to so many people’ (Seattle Times).
After years of citizens needing an inclusive program that will take care of their welfare status, this program was developed as a way to provide long-term care for the older residents of Washington. The aim of the program is to provide a sustainable social care program aimed at giving the elderly access to services they require for their wellbeing. The funds are crucial in catering to transportation needs, nursing care, and other senior living needs.
The bill estimates beneficiaries would gain claims over the next three years. Obviously, with the delay, beneficiaries will have to wait longer.
The 0.58% payroll tax (or $290/year for someone making $50,000/year) is a relatively small price to pay, however there have been myriad criticisms.
What are the primary criticisms?
The program has had its fair share of challenges, with some individuals exempt due to their age. Additionally, numerous people living in Oregon and Idaho were qualified which is partly why the bill has ben paused. Making sure the right people qualify is imperative.
With approximately half a million of the population nearing the retirement age, most of the residents in Washington will not gain the claims and benefits according to the current structure. The delay of the program will allow for more adjustments.
Image by David Mark