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.