Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, may be relieved that the state House 2011-2013 budget proposal preserved Basic Health and Disability Lifeline, but I’m not ready to celebrate just yet.
The House proposed severe cuts to community health center funding, threatening the health care delivery system that forms the backbone of the safety net these programs provide.
Would you give a hungry person a bag of rice, but take away the water and pot to cook it in? That’s how illogical this health center cut is.
The $183 million cut in state and federal payments will threaten the ability of community health centers to remain open, thus forcing the low-income patients who rely on them to find other ways to receive health care. That often means more expensive care at hospitals and crowded emergency rooms. I will only be relieved if the state Senate takes a more balanced approach to its biennial budget proposal by ensuring that the primary care safety net is truly spared for the people who need it most.