Setting the record straight

State budget does not cut services to most vulnerable citizens.

To the editor,

[07.08.04] — Dr. Charles Willson’s op-ed [“Hurting kids”, Philanthropy Journal, 06.21.04] is absolutely inaccurate in alleging that Governor Easley’s budget contained substantial cuts in health care services.

Governor Easley has always worked hard to provide for the least among us and his recommended budget reflected this commitment.

The governor’s 2004-05 budget contained no reduction in eligibility for Medicaid services, nor did it contain any reductions in services provided to our most vulnerable citizens.

To the contrary, Governor Easley proposed increased funding to provide more children with access to our successful Health Choice program, more support for school nurses, more support for the Community Care program that Willson praises, increased drug assistance to serve those afflicted with the AIDS virus, and support for the Mental Health Trust Fund.

The drastic cuts that Willson outlined were options rejected by the governor more than two years ago.

While the Department of Health and Human Services will always have needs beyond our resources, false information does nothing to inform the budget debate.

Carmen Hooker Odom, secretary, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

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