Appleton stands strong for those in need

With the state facing an $8.3 billion budget deficit ahead of the March 19 budget forecast, no one in Olympia denies that cuts will have to be made in order to balance the state’s budget.

Where those cuts are going to be made, however, is still up for debate.

“We’re already having to cut the Basic Health Plan by 20,000 people,” 23rd District State Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) said Wednesday during a brief break from the House floor.

Basic Health is a state-sponsored plan providing low-cost health care coverage through private health plans to those residents who meet the income guidelines.

“If we had universal health care, it would go a long way to solving the problem,” Appleton said, noting universal health care wouldn’t affect people who already have health insurance, but would be for those who can’t afford it and are in need of health insurance. “We’re just waiting to see what comes out of Washington (D.C.).”

Currently many employers cannot afford to provide health insurance to their employees and some employees cannot afford their companies’ health insurance plans, so something has to be done about the issue, she said.

The budget deficit also has placed state-funded alcohol and substance abuse centers in jeopardy of closing.

While that appears unlikely in this current biennium, Appleton said she is committed to doing all she can to ensure budget cuts are made in an equitable manner.

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