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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 31, 2013 at 6:31 AM

Gov. Jay Inslee unveils budget proposal

Medicaid expansion will aid Seattle’s art scene

You can’t walk more than a few blocks in Seattle without passing a coffee shop. Local art covers the walls, and sometimes you can hear neighborhood bands playing. Seattle is an art destination, with monthly art walks in neighborhoods across the city. Our artists and musicians are valuable culture providers that attract international attention and robust tourist dollars to the city.

As a 15-year member of the Seattle music community and a self-employed artist, I have had to find my own health insurance and trust that it will be adequate. Sometimes it has not been enough to help me with occasional medical bills, and most people in my community have had the same experience.

Seattle’s exports of music and coffee make up the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. But what about the health care of these life-changing songwriters, baristas pouring the perfect foam, or awe-inspiring artists? Many of them, while healthy, are uninsured. And when the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) kicks in next year, they might not be able to afford comprehensive coverage, especially with an uncertain income.

That’s where Medicaid expansion comes in [“Gov. Inslee proposes extension of temporary taxes,” seattletimes.com, March 28]. Expanding Medicaid will give health care to 250,000 low-income Washingtonians (like me), some of whom may not have previously had access to health insurance and quality health care. That means your favorite band will now have access to preventive care such as vaccines and cancer screenings as well as treatment for chronic conditions such as diabetes. And they probably won’t have to cancel a gig because the drummer couldn’t afford to go to the hospital after leaping off the stage at Neumos.

–Alicia Dara, Seattle

Medicaid expansion provides health care safety net

As a Washingtonian, I stand behind Medicaid expansion. I am eager and excited to purchase insurance coverage on the exchange. But I know there are many people who don’t have access to Medicaid now, who might not be able to afford a plan on the exchange. Some of these people are my friends and neighbors. With Medicaid expansion, they’ll have a health-care safety net. They will have access to preventive care such as vaccines and cancer screenings as well as treatment for chronic conditions such as diabetes.

Medicaid expansion makes sense for Washington. Not only will it cover an additional 250,000 low-income Washingtonians, but it will also create at least 10,000 new health-care jobs. Expansion of Medicaid in Washington state will actually save money since Medicaid expansion will be fully covered by the federal government for the first three years. After that, they’ll still pick up 90 percent of the bill. It will save $225 million in this biennium as we transition away from state health programs such as Disability Lifeline and State Basic Health.

Medicaid expansion will bring federal dollars to our state to create healthier people, quality jobs and billions in local business activity.

–Megan Pahl, Seattle

0 Comments | More in Arts, Health care | Topics: Jay Inslee, Medicaid expansion

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