Public Health of Seattle & King County, where I work, provides essential health care services to county residents, many of whom have no insurance and nowhere else to turn. This year King County insisted that the Public Health department submit a balanced budget for 2007, despite increasing health care costs, decreasing returns as fewer people have health insurance, and an acute need for subsidies to be able to stay in business. Dorothy Teeter, interim director of Public Health of Seattle & King County, obliged the bean counters' request, and proposed closing two of the county's ten Public Health centers in order to break even.
Now it is up to Public Health clients, workers and the community at large to convince King County Executive Ron Sims and the King County Council to go beyond the budget Teeter submitted and fully fund Public Health, without any cuts or closures. Between now and late November, when the council votes on the budget, there's a lot of work to do.