Friday, February 19, 2010

Health Reform D-Day Approaches

It doesn't matter what this country does for health care reform if we don't follow the laws already in place.

Federal law and the Supreme Court already grant civil rights to medical care to our most vulnerable populations. This includes about 2.2 million children who are considered medically needy; and four million or so adults (including the elderly) who are too disabled to live independently.

Last week Hawaii became the seventh state in the past year to come under federal investigation for civil rights violations stemming from cuts to Medicaid budgets for home services. These are the budgets that make it possible for this population of about six million to stay out of institutions and home with their families.

We're already a country that allows a $4 billion a year company like UnitedHealth Group to make life and death decisions about children so disabled they need 24/7 nursing care to remain with their families. Their alternative is to be locked up in giant cribs with metal bar walls and ceilings and infrequent human contact. Parents are told their children's lives are worth no more than $6,000 a month. After that, it's not cost-effective to keep them alive.

The public option can't work as long as the profit motive is allowed to interfere with medical decision making. We don't need more regulations as long as states and for-profit insurance companies continue to be allowed to use federal dollars to violate civl rights with impunity.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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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.