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September 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM

State revenue forecast down; more budget cuts needed

Posted by Letters editor

Safety net should be preserved

The dismal news about the September revenue forecast being down by $1.4 billion and the Legislature’s reaction to look at more cuts was not unexpected [“Governor to call 30-day special session,” NWThursday, Sept. 22]. But the ramifications should shock us into realizing in clear terms that cuts are not the answer.

It’s obvious from this forecast that our state is hurting. That is why now is the worst time to talk about eliminating the safety-net programs that are sustaining low-income Washingtonians.

Balancing the budget on the backs of the state’s most vulnerable, in the form of less funding to essential health care services, as some legislators are calling for, comes with a hefty price tag. When people, like the clients I serve every day, lose access to health care, they turn to more expensive care in emergency rooms. This results in higher premiums for the already insured as costs are passed on to consumers.

As our policymakers look for ways to keep the state in the black, I hope that they consider a balanced approach and keep the health and well-being of our state’s residents at the forefront of their decision-making process.

— Megan DeBell, family physician and clinical site director, Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center, Seattle

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