Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking from the weak to give to the strong?

Disability rights and medicaid activists have been counting on wording in the stimulus bill to prevent states from re-directing stimulus funds away from critical areas such as medicaid and education funding.  Here in our wonderful state of Hawaii, for instance, our governor first tried to say she was going to used Medicaid funds to make up other state budget shortages, and when complaints arose, she shifted her position to using stimulus funds destined for education instead.
I've read that Palin is trying to do the same thing in Alaska. 
Whichever way you want to look at it, it boils down to taking money away from our children and family members with special health care needs, and using it instead, to, say, pay some other state bureaucrat salaries.
But apparently the government is now trying to decide that this kind of shifting of funds might be OK.  An online article mentions that the part of the government overseeing Medicaid and Medicare has said it's alright for states to shift the use of stimulus finds away from care for the elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions and/or disabilities to make up for other state budget deficits.
This is wrong.  It's appalling.  It's another example of hugely misplaced priorities.

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About Me

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I'm the mom of a child with disabilities. Hannah's first neurologist said she might never develop beyond the level of a 2 month old infant, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. The brain damage was just too severe. Nine years later, she walks, uses a touchscreen computer and I've just been shown she can learn to construct sentences and do simple math with the right piece of technology. Along the way, I discovered I needed to teach myself what Hannah's rights to services really were. Learning about early intervention services led to reading about IDEA and then to EPSDT. I've been waiting for the Obama administration to realize the power and potential of EPSDT for the medical rights - including the right to stay at home with their families - of children with disabilities. The health reform people talk about long term care, and the disability people talk about education and employment, but nobody is talking about EPSDT. So I am.