November 03, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Susan Ward (206) 786-0094 / susan@teamsoapbox.com


Election Results Put Health Care in Jeopardy


Seattle, WA, November 3, 2010 – Passage of several initiatives that will drain funding from the state budget and constrain legislators’ ability to respond to the recession will likely mean serious funding cuts to health care. Voter approval of Initiatives 1107 and 1053, in particular, will add further pressure to the current state budget crisis, putting health care on the line for more cuts. The defeat of Initiative 1098 eliminates the prospect of a long-term solution to the funding problem.

“These election results will unfortunately add to the struggles of families across Washington who are looking for relief,” said Rebecca Kavoussi, Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs for the Community Health Network of Washington (CHNW). “In terms of the Initiatives, Washingtonians lost in this election. Unprecedented funding from out-of-state corporations dominated the races and it shows in the results.”

With the state facing a projected minimum budget deficit of $4 billion in the coming biennium, the Governor and legislature will have no other options than to make deeper cuts, on top of the $290 million most recently cut from health care and $1 billion in cuts to health care programs over the past two years.

According to Mary Looker, Chief Executive Officer of the Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers, “The 2011 legislative session will be the most challenging we’ve ever experienced. We will have to work even harder to ensure continuation of these vital, cost-effective health care programs serving Washington’s most vulnerable populations.”

Programs slated for elimination early next year include Disability Lifeline medical, Apple Health for Kids, and Medicaid optional programs such as Maternity Support Services, adult dental care, pharmacy and interpreter services. Expected targets for cuts in the upcoming biennial budget are the elimination of Community Health Services grants, which keep clinic doors open for people without insurance, and elimination of the voter-approved Basic Health Plan. In all, hundreds of thousands of people will be affected by the cuts.

Community Health Network of Washington CEO Lance Hunsinger emphasized that, “These essential services have been a sound investment for the state, earning federal matching funds and keeping our communities healthy. We will continue to work with our communities, with Governor Gregoire, and with leaders from both parties to prioritize essential services and preserve the basic quality of life that Washington families deserve.”


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Community Health Network of Washington (CHNW)
Founded by community health centers in Washington State, Community Health Network of Washington (CHNW) is a community health center-focuseddelivery network, whose mission is to improve the health status of our communities through the provision of high-quality, affordable, community-based health care to underserved individuals and families.

The Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers (WACMHC)
WACMHC is a non-profit organization, formed in 1985, to advocate on behalf of the low-income, uninsured, and underserved populations of Washington State served by community health centers.  These health centers serve low income and other persons with limited access to health care.