Cumberland Times-News

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August 2, 2009

Wellmobile

Cancelling its services will be costly in many ways

We realize that financial times are tight, but some of the ways that our governments have decided to cut spending are questionable and short-sighted. They likely to produce counterproductive results that prove expensive in the long run — and not just monetarily.

The University of Maryland School of Nursing’s decision to eliminate Wellmobile service in Allegany County will have a direct effect on approximately 1,700 of our residents who seek health care from it each year. Other Wellmobiles are being shut down on the Eastern Shore and in Glen Burnie.

At the same time, officials in Garrett County have announced that the state has eliminated grants that supported vital several programs designed to cut into tobacco and drug use and provide after-school programs.

Increasing the awareness and availability of preventative measures and early detection of illness has long been targeted as a method of reducing the staggering increase of health costs nationwide. It is easier and far less expensive to take measures that either discover an ailment in its early stages, or prevent it altogether, than to treat it after it becomes advanced.

Cancellation of the Wellmobile will remove the prevention and detection option for those who must seek its services because they are either uninsured or uninsured. Ending programs that encourage young people to abstain from drug or tobacco use may save money in the short term, but will most likely lead to disastrous — and expensive — health problems in the long run.

It is aggravating, to say the least, to watch as worthwhile programs that benefit the health and well-being of our citizens are canceled, while at the same time we learn that banks that received billions of dollars in bailout funds have given $1 million bonuses to 4,800 of their employees.

The problem isn’t that America doesn’t have enough money. The problem is that America often doesn’t spend its money wisely.

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