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LEGISLATURE: Clinic cuts will tear holes in safety net

Letter by Jeff Smith, MD, Tacoma on April 6, 2011 at 11:32 am with 10 Comments »
April 6, 2011 12:21 pm

The News Tribune’s article on the state House budget proposal is overly optimistic.

It state that the preservation of the Disability Lifeline and the Basic Health programs will serve as a bridge to national health reform in 2014 (“State Democrats offer budget,” 4/5/11).

While maintaining these programs is crucial, the same budget that creates this bridge wipes out the off-ramp to that bridge by slashing funding for community health centers – the primary care system where most people on Basic Health and Disability Lifeline receive their care.

The deep cuts will force the health centers to cut hours, lay off employees and close clinics. Patients will lose access to care, forcing them to make choices between basic necessities and taking care of their health conditions.

This budget plan actually creates a hole that our community’s poor and disabled, and those who serve them, will spend years trying to dig out of. I hope the state Senate will do better.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. fbergford says:

    Well maybe it’s time for you to “buck up” and start giving back to the community with your wealth that you have accumulated as a doctor. Or maybe instead of recieving a couple hundred thousand of dollars a year for your job, live modestly and live on a third of that and invest that money back into the clinics along with other donors. It’s not governments job to make sure that everyone is cared for, we need to stop spending and if it has to cut programs that we cannot afford, it’s the goodness in each person to step forward and cover the costs for what the government cannot afford to do anymore. WE don’t have any money, the government is broke…it’s time to stop depending on the government. Period end of story. It’s personal responsibility time.

  2. beckyk23 says:

    The providers at community health centers dedicate their lives to caring for the poor and under served, including taking pay significantly less than they could make with private pay patients. After incurring $100K+ in loans, I think they can feel good each day knowing that they are doing their part to be good contributors to society.

    There is no way, unfortunately, that through the grace of a handful of doctors in our state (community health center or otherwise) that we can address the health care needs of over 2 million people who are uninsured and/or living in poverty. We need a systemic response that supports the Washingtonian values of healthy, equal opportunity and providing a safety net so that people can weather hard times and remain self-sufficient.

  3. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Maybe this will help drive the illegal immigrants back to their home of record!!

  4. “fbergford says:
    April 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm
    Well maybe it’s time for you to “buck up” and start giving back to the community with your wealth that you have accumulated as a doctor. Or maybe instead of recieving a couple hundred thousand of dollars a year for your job, live modestly and live on a third of that and invest that money back into the clinics along with other donors.”
    ———————————————————————————-

    It looks like Bergie has gone Socialist on us!!!!!! He wants an MD….who paid for about 10 years of education to have the smarts to save Bergie’s posterior when he shows up dying……. to “buck up” and pay for community health, as if the good Doctor doesn’t already pay taxes

    Meanwhile Bergie is griping about paying taxes.

    Fascinating.

    The government isn’t broke. The previous Administration misspent the money they had, so we ALL need to pay more in to pay the debt Bush and Friends ran up on their “no limit” credit card.

  5. “the3rdpigshouse says:
    April 6, 2011 at 4:51 pm
    Maybe this will help drive the illegal immigrants back to their home of record!!
    ———————————————————————-

    It appears you are still here.

  6. fbergford says:

    X_6 doctors pay for med school like anyone else…grants, scholarships, loans you name it they have done it! And also I don’t go to these clinincs that he is talking about.

    Second, this fine medical doctor is talking about clinics in our state funded by our state tax dollars. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BUSH, NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FEDS so get that out of your tarded head!

    Third, what I wrote above is not a socialist view, that is called looking out for your neighbors…have you heard of non-profits? I know of a non-profit in Seattle once a week doctors, dentists, lawyers, donate their time and money to see these people. There is a small grocery store that sells staple food, a daycare and lastly a battered womens shelter. All of that is provided by regular folks who DONATE time and money. They do not recieve any help from the government that means NO TAXES…interesting how when you take government out of it, more things get done.

    Lastly, I was suggesting to the good doctor if he is concerned about the welfare of these people who will have to find alternate means to recieve healthcare, why doesn’t he “buck up” and do it himself with his own money, and upon the graciousness of others. The state saves a couple bucks, the people still get help, it will force them to better their situation and it is a win win for everyone!

  7. itwasntmethistime says:

    It’s pointless anyway. There is no way, with any amount of money, any number of health care providers are going to be able to handle the massive health problems we will face in the coming years. How long do you think its going to take before we see the real effects of obesity? Two-thirds of the people in the nation are overweight. Woah.

  8. I keep hearing THE GOVERNMENT IS BROKE!And yet the spending of our tax dollars goes on and on,unabated.The citizens must cut back on their spending, but the Govt.seems to be addicted to spending money we don’t have,and seem determined to keep spending until they have our Grand children,Great grandchildren and Great Great Grandchildren enslaved with their spending!At least by the time that happens,most of won’t be here to see the catastophic results of their actions.

  9. “Third, what I wrote above is not a socialist view, that is called looking out for your neighbors…have you heard of non-profits?”
    ——————————————————————————
    Yeah, I was the development director for one, and served on the board of directors for another. How about you?

    You’re real good at screaming at the wind, but when it comes down to doing something, you’re looking for the rest of the community to do it.

    You gripe about taxation and have the guts to demand that a doctor, working for much less than in private practice, “buck up” personally?

    Classic TEA BAG politics. “Keep the Government out of my Medicare”

  10. “sincere says:
    April 7, 2011 at 9:55 am
    I keep hearing THE GOVERNMENT IS BROKE!And yet the spending of our tax dollars goes on and on,unabated.The citizens must cut back on their spending, but the Govt.seems to be addicted to spending money we don’t have,and seem determined to keep spending until they have our Grand children,Great grandchildren and Great Great Grandchildren enslaved with their spending!At least by the time that happens,most of won’t be here to see the catastophic results of their actions.
    ————————————————————————————–

    You keep listening to the same sources that why you keep hearing the same thing.

    Cut defense spending by 65% and see how the government is doing.

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