Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bits and pieces: Health care reform, Washington state budget

Health care reform

I don’t mind spending time in the car because it’s an opportunity to listen to AM 1090, progressive talk radio. Yesterday I had the good luck to catch Amy Goodman’s show Democracy Now on the station. Amy opened the show with a disturbing statistic on the uninsured.
Nearly 45,000 Americans die every year—that’s 122 deaths a day—due to lack of health insurance. That’s the startling finding of a new study that appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
This number is more than the expected number of deaths from breast cancer last year -- 41,000 people -- and many common diseases such as kidney disease.

So, instead of donating money to the American Cancer Society, maybe we should be helping people access health insurance instead?

Washington's budget

You might have heard that Washington is forecasted to lose another $238 million in revenue this biennium due to low sales tax receipts. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll see an even bigger number.

At a meeting with Democratic activists yesterday in Seattle, two state legislators, Senator Margarita Prentice and Representative Ross Hunter, told the group that the budget deficit will be actually closer to $1 billion when the increased need for services and other factors are considered. Neither lawmaker was receptive to activists’ request for new revenue sources.

At the meeting, Hunter, chair of the House Finance Committee, used an interesting metaphor to describe the effects of Tim Eyman’s job-killing measure, Initiative 1033, on Washington’s economy. He said that people like to describe Washington’s economy as a roller coaster, with peaks and valleys. Under I-1033, our economy would be one half of a roller coaster ride, the bottom portion. No peaks, only valleys.

Tim Eyman wants to take Washington on quite a ride.

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