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Republicans Are Quietly Eliminating Health Care For Disabled Children

In what must be Paul Ryan’s most beautiful dream come true, Texas is gutting it’s medicare system, screwing millions of people, including disabled children, out of the health care they need.

Texas Tribune reports:
More than a year after lawmakers originally ordered it, Texas announced Monday it will enact significant cuts to the money that it pays therapists who treat vulnerable children with disabilities in two weeks.

Medicaid reimbursement rates are used to pay for pediatric therapy services provided to disabled babies and toddlers. Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, said that Texas will apply cuts on Medicaid rates on Dec. 15 in attempt to achieve savings directed by the Texas Legislature in 2015.

“The most important job we have is making sure kids have the services they need and that we are responsible with taxpayer dollars,” Williams said in an e-mail. “We will monitor the reduction of rates to ensure access to care is not impacted and that Texans around the state receive the much-needed therapies required to improve their lives.”

A group of concerned Texans last year filed a lawsuit seeking to block the $350 million cut to Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled, from taking effect. That group included speech, physical and occupational therapy providers and the families of children who receive their service. They argued that the cuts were so steep that providers would have to close their businesses and forgo seeing as many as 60,000 children.

In September, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear their case, upholding a lower court’s ruling that the lawsuit lacked standing.

The commission and several health insurers with state contracts have spent the last year arguing that the cuts will not cause children to lose access to services. State officials point to a state-commissioned study that found in-home therapy providers were overpaid by Medicaid when compared to other public insurance programs.

But Stephanie Rubin, chief executive of the advocacy group Texans Care for Children, said in an e-mailed statement that schools will now have more students who will struggle in classrooms and need expensive special education services. 

“This is terrible news for Texas kids with disabilities and developmental delays and their families,” Rubin said. “Kids with autism, speech delays, Down syndrome, and other disabilities and delays rely on these therapies to learn to walk, communicate with their families, get ready for school, and meet other goals.”

As the Trump administration continues to destroy the country with their absurd policies, we can only assume they are preparing for what’s happening in Texas to happen on a much larger, national scale, and quickly.  Up to 40 million people will likely lose their health care coverage when Obamacare is repealed and Medicare is gutted. If that 40 million includes disabled children, one of the most vulnerable groups of people on the planet, that’s just collateral damage to the GOP.

Make sure to start spreading the word now, so we can vote these bozos out in 2018 and 2020.


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