Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor for Jan. 15

Vitamin D3 is budget shortfall solution

Here’s a bold plan to offset Washington state’s projected $2.6 billion budget shortfall without raising taxes or cutting programs: give vitamin D3 supplements to Medicaid clients.

This could save the state at least $3 billion by reducing illnesses because of D3 deficiency.

We are a nation suffering from D3 deficiency. This has been linked to radically higher rates of a host of illnesses ranging from respiratory infections to breast cancer and even autism.

In cases involving more than one million Medicaid clients, Washington state taxpayers foot the bill.

William Faloon, director of the Life Extension Foundation, believes that we can reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs by as much as 50 percent by giving clients 5,000-to-7,000 IU of D3 per day.

That may be overly optimistic. But even a 10 percent reduction in costs would save $3 billion, more than enough to offset the budget shortfall.

D3 supplementation is not for everybody. People with conditions such as high blood calcium, kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism and sarcoidosis, and those who use cardiac glycosides or thiazide diuretics, should consult a physician.

D3 is cheap. One month’s supply of good quality D3 costs about $10 per person. But with more than 1 million residents enrolled in Medicaid, that’s a lot of money: in the neighborhood of $144 million per year.

With savings of at least $3 billion, however, it will pay for itself and offset the budget shortfall, all without increasing taxes or cutting programs.

This is a great idea. We should do it.