Washington State Budget Proposal Limits Access to Healthcare

Washington state budget proposal would cut healthcare coverage for children throughout the state, including approximately $50 million for Seattle Children’s.

As Washington state works to develop its new biennial 2011-13 budget, it’s no surprise that difficult financial times are resulting in deep funding cuts to education, social services and healthcare.

Specific to healthcare, the budget proposal is slated to cut healthcare coverage for children throughout our state. Seattle Children’s alone could see funding cuts of approximately $50 million over the next two years.

For example, the new budget proposed by the state House and state Senate would cut millions of dollars by limiting access to our emergency department for kids covered by the Apple Health for Kids program. The budget would limit each child to three emergency department visits annually for services the state defines as "non emergencies." Other visits would be left unpaid by the state. Some of the services defined by the state as "non emergencies" are in fact potentially life-threatening emergencies like hernias, diabetic comas, and convulsions from high fevers.

In addition, the proposal introduced by the state Senate would impose additional out of pocket costs on low-income children covered by Apple Health for Kids, which would likely contribute to an increase in the number of uninsured children in Washington state. The House and Senate proposals will also increase the amount of uncompensated care Children's provides, currently greater than $100 million per year.

The long-term impact of these cuts in children’s healthcare would be considerable. Children’s will do everything it can to prevent as many cuts as possible to protect children.

If you’re also interested in helping protect government funding for Washington state healthcare, please share your concerns by contacting your legislator. You can find your representatives (2 representatives, one senator) and their email addresses here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

For more information, visit seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.