Interpreter costs raise more questions

Let me see if I understand this news item in the Sunday Herald: The state is no longer willing or able to fund interpreters for 70,000(!) limited English speakers. Olympia’s solution? Let the doctors and clinics pay. In other words, we, the public, would still pay the costs of interpreters, only now it would be on our medical bills instead of our taxes.

I have a few questions about this issue:

1. How long have those 70,000 been in this country? If longer than a year or two, there is no excuse for not having learned sufficient English to make themselves understood.

2. Are these 70,000 legal immigrants? If the answer is yes, were they not required to have a sponsor or demonstrate they would not become a burden to the taxpayer when they entered the country? (That was the law when I came to this country).

3. If they are not legal immigrants, why should they be entitled to free medical care under Medicaid, at taxpayers’ expense?

And who came up with the bright idea to turn the (contract) interpreters into state employees? Now, that would really save money, along with layoffs and furloughs of existing state employees.

Frank J. Baumann

Snohomish