Health programs must be funded
Washington has been a leader in investing in and protecting the health of its citizens. The Basic Health plan provides affordable health care to low-income people in our state. The Breast and Cervical Health Program has provided screening for early detection of cancer. Since its inception, the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program has helped cut smoking rates by 30 percent.
But with recent budget cuts, these critical programs that protect our health have suffered. More cuts would mean no hope for the uninsured to get health coverage, more women going without mammograms and thousands of kids and adults at risk of tobacco addiction and no help to quit.
Lawmakers simply cannot continue to cut their way out of our budget problems. They should follow the lead of Gov. Chris Gregoire to find new revenue sources and pass proposals like HB 2493 that will raise nearly $90 million through an increase in tobacco taxes.
We can’t wait any longer. We need new revenue now to continue these important programs and protect the health and wellness of Washington citizens.
Ruth and Jerry Pechin