I can’t believe what is happening here. When I first came to the Bitterroot Valley in 1978, I was young and I was broke. Family Planning and Public Health were my medical providers for those start out years. I was able to affordably receive my health care checkups, plan out my family, and then later I could afford my children’s immunizations with their sliding scale. I was a hard working community member at the time, cooking in cafes and making minimum wage.
Young people who are just starting out are often in this lower economic bracket. They haven’t established a career yet. Then there’s all the folks in our community who work in the service industry, frying our burgers or mixing our espressos. That’s just a sample of the public health clientele. Many citizens of our valley make minimum wage and that does not match up well with the cost of medical care. These people should not be less able to access medical care. However, when and if we lose our public health/family planning support, that’s exactly what would happen.
Not only are we having to fight to keep Family Planning but we’re also in danger of losing huge amounts of food stamp funding which is a need that a great many of our citizens have. So many jobs do not pay enough to keep sufficient food on the table that it’s a common need. Some politicians apparently are in denial or they simply do not care. I find that a really scary concept.
The argument I’ve heard for the food stamp issue is that we need to fix our poor economic state. Well, what I don’t get is how they can rationalize fixing it from the bottom up, from the poorer people. Meanwhile the rich people carefully guard their money, fighting any kind of bill that might increase their responsibility, their rate of “chipping in for the common good.”
So, please, Ravalli County residents, wake up before it’s too late. Stand up against the commissioners and their efforts to take away your Family Planning clinic. They’re talking about removing our public health immunization clinic next!