Thursday, May 4, 2017

Republican Health Care Bill to Cut Aid to Special Needs Children

The Cruel Just Get Crueler

One strategy that Republicans are using to perfection to get their health care bill passed is to do it so fast that nobody has time to understand what is in the bill, think about it or understand it.  The objective is to get something, anything passed so the politicians in the House can say they did something.  If health care for millions is destroyed, too bad.

It turns out one part of the bill which nobody is focused on deals a devastating blow to children receiving Medicaid for special needs.  The NYT has the story that nobody else cares about.

Under a little-noticed provision of the health care bill, states would no longer have to consider schools eligible Medicaid providers, meaning they would not be entitled to reimbursements.

What does this mean?  Well this.

School districts rely on Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor, to provide costly services to millions of students with disabilities across the country. For nearly 30 years, Medicaid has helped school systems cover costs for special education services and equipment, from physical therapists to feeding tubes. The money is also used to provide preventive care, such as vision and hearing screenings, for other Medicaid-eligible children.

And this

“School-based Medicaid programs serve as a lifeline to children who can’t access critical health care and health services outside of their school,” said the letter sent this week by the Save Medicaid in Schools Coalition, which consists of more than 50 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, and the School Superintendents Association.

One person sums it up this way.

John George, executive director of the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit in Pennsylvania, said Medicaid primarily paid for speech, physical and behavior therapists.
Special education students make up roughly 16 percent of his student population, he said, and his most recent Medicaid reimbursement was about $5.4 million.
“It’s devastating,” Mr. George said of the potential impact of losing Medicaid funding. “Our most vulnerable citizens are going to be suffering the most. If any legislator votes for this, it’s unconscionable.”

So everyone think about special needs kids being denied health care when you watch the Republican crow about their success.  Try not to be ill, if Republicans have their way you won’t get treatment for it.

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