Pinay sa Seattle–GABRIELA USA rallied with other Asian and Pacific Islander groups on the steps of the capitol building in Olympia on Feb. 4 to advocate for senior services such as medical interpretation, the Basic Health Plan, Medicaid adult dental, long-term care and programs that are funded by the Senior Services Act and are proposed to be cut or reduced. The Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) organized this annual event, which included times for groups to visit and raise concerns to their district representatives. In a session with Representative Bob Hasegawa of the 11th district, he cited a current $2.8 billion revenue deficit in 2010 and a $9 billion dollar budget shortfall from 2009. He agreed that cutting services like medical translation would impact the district whose residents speak 149 different languages. Numerous elders from Vietnamese, Chinese, Khmer and Filipino communities voiced their concerns to Rep. Hasagawa regarding their much needed medical and social services.

In addition, Dado Saturay, an elderly community member stated that “Social service workers will also be impacted because when their hours are reduced, so are their medical benefits.”

To recover from the 2009 budget shortfall, the government made $4 billion in deep cuts to education and healthcare as well as using a one-time federal fund. Speakers at the APA Legislative rally talked about their concern for economic recovery and how deeper cuts in spending on investments to education, health care and infrastructure would be detrimental. Raising revenue and targeted tax increases was highly supported by different communities as a strategy to keep much needed senior services.

Pinay sa Seattle-GABRIELA USA supports the needs of our elders and calls for genuine health care reform and other much-needed services.

“These cuts really show how our government is not looking out for its citizens when services to the most vulnerable populations are sacrificed. We need to demand that our tax dollars are put into services that matter instead of protecting corporate interests and military spending,” stated Katrina Pestano of Pinay sa Seattle.

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