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Gross Point Blank

Our safety net has been shelved

Sometimes I get stymied when it comes to penning my reactions to political situations because my main concern is always, "What if I'm not 100 percent right about the facts?" But make no doubt about it, I feel strongly that in her attempt to return to office, Gov. Christine Gregoire bamboozled us, the taxpayers.

For me, it all centers around an issue I covered this past summer, a mere four months ago: Gregoire's "Cover All Kids" campaign.

This was a campaign to promote medical insurance for every child in Washington.

To make sure everyone knew about it, Gregoire literally rolled out a touring bus, stopping in communities across the state to spread the word that, more likely than not, your child can probably qualify for insurance through the state.

At the time, Jim Stevenson, communications director for the Medicaid program, told me that 75,000 children in the state weren't insured, 6,800 of whom hailed from the Yakima Valley.

Make that 6,799. I signed my son up after Stevenson told me, "Even if you think you aren't eligible, you probably are."

For the first time in eons, my son had health insurance.

In August, families at 250 percent of the national poverty level qualified for medical coverage for their children and that figure was set to change as of yesterday, Thursday, to 300 percent.

Not anymore, according to Gov. Gregoire's budget proposal.

Now that she's conveniently re-elected, those percentages no longer factor in due to dire financial conditions in the state of Washington.

I don't believe for one second that the dire financial condition came as a shock to Gregoire. After all, I have listened to our local politicians question state spending for at least the last year.

Just this past February, Gregoire submitted written testimony regarding "high quality, affordable health care for every child."

She writes: "In Washington state, we believe providing health care coverage to all of our kids and making sure they have access to high quality, affordable health care is not only the right thing to do-it's a moral imperative."

What Gregoire was really saying is this: "I'm up for re-election. I need your support just long enough to make it through the November election."

Lest there be any question about her motives, in addition to not expanding the poverty level numbers, she proposes to lower the number eligible for children's healthcare coverage.

No one can change my mind that this ridiculous "Cover All Kids" project was anything more than campaigning for government office.

What's sad is that it was done at the expense of relieved parents across the state of Washington who knew they couldn't afford insurance on their own, but were grateful that should some calamity befall their child, they had a safety net.

Like me.

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