Washington State Attorney General and now an official candidate for governor Rob McKenna sat down for an hour-long interview with TVW host Austin Jenkins this week.



While much of what McKenna says is a re-do of his announcement speech—find government efficiencies to fix the budget, prioritize education reform, and fund K-12 and higher ed at higher levels, there is a surprise here: Listen to McKenna's rap on health care reform.

He hypes the Group Health model—focusing on preventive care and possibly offering rebates on co-pays for preventive care along with giving doctors incentives to move away from the fee-for-service model and toward rewards for results. He sounds, quite frankly, like U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA, 1), his likely Democratic opponent (and Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell), who both made a similar pitch during the health care debate.

However, McKenna is now suing to overturn the health care reform law that Inslee and Cantwell passed, which encourages the preventive care model.

McKenna also adopted the line touted by the more moderate state senate Republicans: We need to "preserve key social programs" such as the Disability Lifeline and the Basic Health Plan (the more conservative house GOP leadership wanted to kill the programs rather than "keeping them on life support.")

By the way, the preserve-rather-than-eliminate mantra was also the senate Democratic position. The more liberal house wanted to preserve both programs at a higher level. Gov. Gregoire's original budget eliminated both programs. The bipartisan senate position prevailed.

On the hardly-surprising front, McKenna told Jenkins he thinks I-1053, the two-thirds requirement to pass new taxes, is constitutional. And he doesn't support an income tax.

As I've pointed out, and pressed McKenna about at his post-announcement press conference, his position that he's going to tap increased government revenues runs counter to his (and the Republicans') standard criticism of government growth. The GOP sound bite that government grew 33 percent during the Gregoire years is a function of the very revenue growth—13 percent in the next biennium—that McKenna says he's psyched to spend.

At the press conference, McKenna told me he never used the 33 percent criticism. Not true. He trotted out the standard GOP soundbite during a recent speech at the UW.
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