Thursday, April 30, 2009

Did you hear the president talk about us?

As I was driving home last evening, I was listening to the President's press conference.  And, in response to a question about the disproportionate suffering in the Great Recession associated with race, I heard the President mention us:  

"When we put in place additional dollars for community health centers to ensure that people are still getting the help that they need..."

So, the President notes that we are "ensuring" people get the help they need.  That sounds like a value system I can identify with! 

But, I'm afraid I might be seeing the President showing that even he is a bit out of touch with our reality.

Here's the scoop - the Economic Stimulus Package did contain provisions to provide additional support for Community Health Centers, who are facing increased demand for services across the country.  And, we've been able to get a promise for our piece of that... let's see, the whole stimulus package was how much, $700,000,000,000?  I must admit, I can't keep track of the total.  And, we will get our piece - $130,000 a year for two years! 

But, we know that we're seeing increasing demand.  And, this webpage explains that in our state, the Community Health Centers will be the primary recipients of a $1,000,000,000 state funding cut.  
  • Washington's uninsured will increased by 150,000 people, to nearly 900,000 by 2010.  
  • 35,000 people will be kicked out of the Basic Health Plan, and will become uninsured.  
  • A program called "General Assistance to the Unemployable" (GAU) will be cut by $43,000,000.  These disabled and chronically-ill patients will see their monthly income cut to $136.  (Yes, one hundred thirty six dollars!)  
And, who's going to see all these uninsured?  Why, the Community Health Centers, of course.  After all, that's what the President said!  

Clearly, we can't make up our share of a $1,000,000,000 loss by the "influx" of $260,000 over two years!  

I'm sorry Mr. President.  That's not the change I had in mind!

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