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Vulnerable rally for Medicaid benefits

From The Columbian
By Scott Hewitt

If you need eyeglasses to drive but you’ve just lost your Medicaid payment for glasses, what happens to your mobility and independence?

If you need the state’s Basic Health Program to afford any doctor at all, but the program is eliminated, what happens to your health?

If you need a caretaker to stay at home -- but your caretaker’s state support is crumbling -- what happens to you?

Many of the roughly 50 people who turned out for a "Candlelight Vigil and Rally to Restore Medicaid Benefits” on Thursday evening said they feel their lives are on the line.

“I’ve already fallen through,” said John Perkins, whose disability-related medical bills were just rejected by Medicaid and whose eyeglasses aren’t getting any younger. Eventually, he said, he will wind up sick and shut in — unless the budget cuts proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire last month are somehow averted.

Nobody claims to like Gregoire’s budget plan — least of all the governor herself. When she released it on Dec. 15 she said, “in some places, I don’t even think it’s moral.” But because Washington is facing a $4.6 billion budget deficit, and state law requires a balanced budget, her hands are tied during this prolonged economic downturn.

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Please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved in community and legislative advocacy in either Oregon or Washington. To learn about the NWDSA’s collaborative advocacy plans and how you can get involved, please contact Angela at 503-238-0522 or

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