March 18, 2012 in Letters, Opinion

Disability Lifeline is vital


I agree with The Spokesman-Review’s March 6 editorial that the budget passed by the Senate last weekend wasn’t pretty. Disability Lifeline is mentioned as one of the casualties. Let me expand on why eliminating this program is not only inhumane but fiscally irresponsible.

I’ve seen the faces of those who rely on Disability Lifeline in the waiting rooms of our community health centers. These are people simply trying to access what we all need: affordable, quality health care to maintain stability or get back on their feet.

In the last few years, Disability Lifeline has gone through major reforms – exactly what many have called for in government programs – and has proven to not only improve lives but to save the state millions of dollars in caring for this complex population. A recent study showed lower rates of arrests, homelessness, hospital admissions and inpatient psychiatric costs among enrollees. If this program is eliminated, the patients’ needs won’t go away, but the savings to the state will.

As our legislators work on a final budget, I sincerely hope they have the foresight and compassion to protect this reformed and effective program.

David Bare, M.D.


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