What is wrong with this picture? On July 25, the budget for the next fiscal year was presented to the Orange County Board of Supervisors. It called for a 5% across-the-board cut.
The presentation of the public safety portion of the budget was followed immediately by eloquent appeals from the district attorney, sheriff and public defender. They all pointed out the devastating consequences of such a cut on public safety.
This was followed by the health-care budget, also reduced by 5%. There was not one single comment from any member of the Health Care Agency. Why not?
Is there room for a 5% cut while still providing adequate health-care services to the residents of Orange County?
Is this not the county that lost one its trauma care centers this year and now must send Orange County trauma victims to Los Angeles County?
Is this not the county where there is virtually no provision for non-emergency care for indigent adults?
Is this not the county where poor children with serious health problems must wait weeks, or even months, for appointments to overcrowded clinics?
If this is that county, why the deafening silence from the Health Care Agency?
Is there a relationship between these problems, the silent Health Care Agency, and the more than 20 individuals who rose to speak when public comment was requested?
What do the Orange County Medical Assn., Hospital Council, Share Our Selves, California Health Decisions, United Way, the March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation, and UCI Medical Center (and 16 other health-care providers and consumer groups) know that the county of Orange does not know?
I am left wondering which conveyed the loudest message: the public outcry or the county silence?
DR. MELVYN L. STERLING, Orange County Medical Assn., Access to Care Task Force, OCMA Board of Directors