Basic Health, Disability Lifeline, and Apple Health for Kids: We need to talk to our neighbors who are doing well about the value of providing for our neighbors who are struggling. The value of our health care safety net (even after accounting for all its holes) is well recognized. (See: http://blog.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/brown/major-reform-health-care/) Keeping that net from developing new holes in a time of projected budgetary deficits will be a challenge. Many feel the only way we can avoid further cuts in services to our neighbors in need is to find ways to increase revenues to compensate for the losses created by the recent recession.
Legislators fear the electorate, in general, is opposed to contributing more to the pooled resources we use to support our state’s infrastructure. Many point to the vote on Initiative 1053 to require a 2/3 majority vote to modify taxes, fees or other state revenues; they also point to the rejection of the tax on pop and candy that would have paid for Basic Health, and they point to the rejection of the tax on incomes above $200,000/year as evidence that most of us are more invested in keeping and controlling our money than we are in working together to care for neighbors who are poor, sick, or hungry.
It is not enough for those of us who feel the world is a better place when we work together to improve our communities and invest to protect the well being of all who are part of those communities to speak to our legislators. We need to also talk to neighbors and get them to help convince those who represent us there is support to do what it takes to maintain Basic Health, Disability Lifeline and Apple Heath for Kids.
Action: Many legislators are having Town Hall Meetings. Take a neighbor to your local Town Hall Meeting and let your elected legislators know you want them to prevent further damage to our health care safety net. Tell them you are willing to increase taxes if that is what it takes to keep everyone healthy. If you can’t get to a Town Hall Meeting – write a letter!