Letters to the Editor

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BUDGET: State can be compassionate and save money

Letter by Victoria L.P. Elijah, Federal Way on March 6, 2012 at 11:38 am with 8 Comments »
March 6, 2012 12:15 pm

Re: “How to get to a balanced, sustainable state budget – with no gimmicks” (Viewpoint, 3-4).

It’s just plain contradictory that state Sens. Jim Kastama and Joseph Zarelli are calling for reform, as they did in their guest commentary, but also chose to eliminate the kind of reformed program our state should be protecting: Disability Lifeline.

This program provides essential health care access for people with disabilities to manage chronic conditions, maintain stability and get back on their feet. But more than just being a true lifeline for 20,000 of our most vulnerable, it saves the state millions of dollars each year.

A recent study also demonstrated lower rates of arrests, homelessness, hospital admission and inpatient psychiatric costs among Disability Lifeline enrollees. If the program is eliminated — as the Senate-passed budget would do — these savings will be lost. Costs would increase for the state as it struggled to manage this medically complex population.

I think legislators sometimes feel like they have to choose between sympathy and fiscal responsibility. With Disability Lifeline they can have both, and I hope they realize that before it’s too late.

(Elijah is a pharmacist with Community Health Care in Tacoma.)

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. igotdabombfool says:

    It’s funny….every time legislators put something on the block, a group comes forward and cries not fair.

  2. itwasntmethistime says:

    It’s sad. Without Disability Lifeline my brother-in-law is going to have to quit doing drugs and get a job.

  3. Scottc51 says:

    Every program is indispensable. I would like this writer to tell us the programs that should be cut to make funds available for Disability Lifeline.

  4. lylelaws says:

    Victoria,

    I don’t know anything about Senator Zarelli, but don’t think there is a more knowledgeable an honest member in our legislature than Senator Kastama.

    And by the way, I am a Republican.

  5. concernedtacoma7 says:

    “most vulnerable”. How many letters have used that term? At this point LTEs have described every citizen as ‘most vulnerable’.

    How about the taxpayer being labeled as ‘most vulnerable’ to big govt spending away our future?

  6. alindasue says:

    concernedtacoma7,

    “Most vulnerable” refers to those who because of reasons of illness, disability, or age (very old or very young) cannot help themselves. These are the people who need outside support to live a semi-normal life or, sometimes, even live at all.

    Unfortunately, those are also the people with the least political clout and so seem to be among the first to see the budget ax. There is plenty of “big government spending” that has nothing to do with these vulnerable populations – but advocates of things like new/rebuilt stadiums and over-priced waterfront tunnels have much more political clout.

  7. alindasue says:

    lylelaws said, “And by the way, I am a Republican.”

    Given Senator Kastama’s recent actions, I think your statement about his “knowledge and honesty” would have held more sincerity if you were a Democrat.

    By the way, I’m an independent voter who is not looking forward to paying our legislators for yet another special session.

  8. itwasntmethistime says:

    alindasue — concerned’s point was that the number of people who fall under the umbrella of “most vulnerable” has increased to the point where they are the majority. They can’t all be “most vulnerable.” Some have to be more vulnerable than others. So who is “most?” That depends entirely upon who you ask.

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