In 2008, over 800,000 Washington residents lacked health insurance. Since then, the ranks of the unemployed have increased while health care costs have continued to soar, adding many more to the uninsured. Yet state budget deficits have forced suspension of state funding for children’s vaccines, cuts in services for fragile elderly and disabled people, and a 43% reduction in funding for the Basic Health Plan (BHP) for low income working adults. The BHP cuts mean that 40,000 fewer Washingtonians have health coverage, and many of those remaining on the plan have higher premiums. By late August 2010, BHP’s waitlist represented more than 120,000 individuals.
Washington’s Basic Health Plan: Enrolled Vs. Waiting List
Budget cuts have also resulted in cuts to services that help Washington’s seniors and people with disabilities stay as healthy and live as independently as possible. In-home care hours, adult day health programs, information and referral services and nursing home funding have all been cut. Looking ahead, the number of seniors over age 85 is expected to increase more than twice as fast as the general population in coming years, increasing the need for long term care and other services – and the pressure on the state budget.
How Initiative 1098 will help
If passed by voters, thirty percent of net new revenues from I-1098 – about $700 million annually – will be dedicated to the Basic Health Plan, state and local public health services, and long term care for seniors and disabled people.
Want to read more, view citations, or see full size graphs? You can find the full brief (from which this post was excerpted) here: Why I-1098 is Right for Washington ».
Looking for more information about Initiative 1098? Visit the Economic Opportunity Institute website.