Letters to the Editor

Failure of the EMS levy? Four points to ponder | Letters

I’m surprised that no one in our local press has done any analysis of the failure of the EMS levy vote last month.

I believe virtually everyone on the island adores our EMTs and the splendid service they provide. So there had to be some pretty powerful influences to make over 40 percent of the voters say “No” to the levy request.

In my opinion there were four contributing factors:

1. Anger at the Hospital Board for using our tax dollars to bring us a hospital that adheres to the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Bishops—directives which are in conflict with the ethical beliefs of a majority of county residents, and which deny our rights to reproductive health services and end-of-life care that have been approved by large majorities here.

2. Confusion over the respective roles of Airlift Northwest, for which many of us pay $79 a year, and Island Air, which doesn’t charge San Juan islanders but apparently does charge our insurance companies for med-evac service.

3. Resentment at being asked to approve a permanent levy higher than they tell us is needed, without any effort being made to explain it—which would have been a more respectful way to treat voters.

4. And for anyone without health insurance, anger and disbelief over the skyrocketing cost of medical service on the island.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has a different analysis to suggest.

Louise Dustrude/Friday Harbor


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