Hey it's another phone update. The last (and first) time I did this I was at the Vegas airport on my way to Seattle.
I have started my new job, and although it is temporary, it is not half bad. I go into health clinics and talk with folks about the proposed $1 billion cut to health care.
Here is some basic information on what is happening here in the state of Washington. Washington, just like most states in the Union, has a huge budget deficit. What the Governor has proposed to do is cut 42% of the Health Care budget. This would be detrimental to Basic Health, one of a few affordable health insurance plans, and the health clinics funded by it. These clinics are the only options for tens of thousands.
Because this is a budget issue, it is not anything we can vote on, but that doesn't mean there is nothing we can do. What I do is have patients, providers and staff call targeted legislators in their district to urge them not to cut Basic Health. It is the same type of grassroots action work I have been doing save the 100 hour work weeks and shoestring budget.
The first draft of the budget comes out towards the end of March. This will let me know if what I am doing is working, or if I need to work harder. (It will also tell me if I still have a job. If they really scale back the cut then I am no longer needed).
Programs like Basic Health are needed now more than ever. What with thousands losing jobs and benefits weekly. I know, for example, that the State spends more than $2 million a year on bottled water for State related functions when Washington has perfectly fine tap water. Now this is obviously not enough to save $1 billion, but I am sure there are many other examples of unnecessary spending. It is all about priorities. And it's not like this cut wotld solve anything, it just shifts the cost of burden to the insured, employers and communities, and eventually to the state as a whole.
Anyone watch the Oscars last night? The most memorable Oscars that I can remember. Not that I even get into the Academy Awards, but I just thought it was a great production. I especially liked the former award winners saying something about each nominee. That was a great touch.
And how about Sean Penn? Just a class guy and he gave an acceptance speech that will be remembered as long as the Awards are around. By the way, does anyone else see the resemblance between him and my friend/old roommate Dennis? Same smile, same eyes. I will post a pic when I get on my computer again.
The weeks are flying with this new job and it won't be long until my brothers and cousins come visit.