News

For United Way, cuts have an ‘immediate impact’

Sequim Gazette staff

Through most of 2010, donations to United Way of Clallam County lagged behind those of 2009. But as of Dec. 10, they caught up.

Sequim donations actually are running ahead of last year: As of Dec. 16, city residents had given $163,000, up from $128,000 on the same date last year.

That’s all good news, says Jody Moss, United Way executive director.

Maybe. Probably.

In many ways, comparing last year’s donations and this year’s is “comparing apples and oranges,” she said. “It’s just a tease. You don’t know if it’s real.” The point, says Moss, is that individual donations mean everything in an annual campaign. Maybe they’ll continue to arrive, maybe they won’t.

“So we’re varying between cautiously optimistic and pessimistic,” she said with a laugh.

The need is real

But Moss is very serious regarding the great and growing need for donations, saying the anticipated cuts in the Washington state budget “are so huge they’re going to have an immediate impact.”

She now anticipates that due to cuts in the Disability Lifeline, 130 people in Clallam County “will soon be essentially homeless.”

Cuts to the state’s Basic Health Plan, along with other cuts in health care coverage, also will result in pain for the peninsula. Olympic Medical Center “gets $2 million a year from the Basic Health reimbursement,” she noted. That means the hospital system may be providing “$2 million more next year in charity care.

It may be even more,” she said, pointing out that “If people don’t have insurance, they delay.”

Who pays?

“One of the things people in our state believe is the Legislature is cutting waste,” Moss said. “But for these things the need doesn’t go away. So we pay it another way.”

Moss says those “who are insured and pay taxes … end up absorbing the cost.”

“Over the next two or three years, we will have to work together as a community to help,” she said.

In the meantime, she said, United Way remains an excellent way to support many of the organizations that provide a safety net to those living in Clallam County.

Moss said it’s easy to give. Call 457-3011 or send a check to United Way of Clallam County, P.O. Box 937, Port Angeles, WA 98362. Visit www.unitedwayclallam.org to give via PayPal or speak with your employer about automatic payroll deductions.

 

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