Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

No budget, no harm?

health and human services, Wisconsin state budget

Today, Governor Doyle announced that "a possible shutdown would occur in the 'next month or two' without a budget deal. Pressed for details, Doyle would only say he would not totally shutdown the prison system. He instead laid out what he said were the possible impacts of no budget deal," according to budget blog.

But it won't take a month or two for people to start feeling pain. Despite claims that no one's being harmed by the lack of a state budget and gleeful statements about saving money during the morass, the costs of delay are building.

Ask college students and their families who don't know whether they are going to get financial aid -- or how much --for the school year now underway.

Some say that because the old budget kicks in, there's nothing to worry about. But last year's dollars spread among more people in a time with increasing costs for necessities like food, transportation, healthcare, and utilities hurt those on the margin, many of whom are old, poor, disabled, mentally ill, and children and families.

One working group that suffers from no salary increase in many years is direct care providers. They earn from $7 - 13 an hour. Most are unable to pay for health insurance as it is and don't qualify for Medicaid. Without the 5% increase proposed in the budget, what else will they have to do without to survive? Does anyone care?

Waiting lists for Family Care--lower cost longterm care in the home--are growing longer. That means people who don't need to be in a nursing home will be forced to go there--at greater expense to society--because it's the only way they can receive help.

The list goes on. If you care about the effect not having a budget has on longterm care, join the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups, ARC Milwaukee, the Survival Coalition, and AARP Wisconsin Thursday, October 18, from 9:30-10:30 am, in the Senate Parlor of the Wisconsin State Capital in Madison.

The group advocates cigarette tax, hospital tax, and other sources of funding to avoid property tax increases.

Call Glenna Schumann 608-221-6120 for more information. ARC Milwaukee (72nd and Center) is providing free bus transportation to and from the rally, but you must make arrangements now. Call 414-774-6255.

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