Friday, February 19, 2010

Health Reform D-Day Approaches

I don't believe Medicaid needs to be strengthened as much as it needs to be enforced.

Six million people on Medicaid already have a civil right to all the medical care their doctor says is necessary for them to stay out of institutions. This is more than just a legal right -- the Olmstead Decision in 1999 made it a civil right.

If the states so far haven't been able to find a way to take care of their most vulnerable citizens without trampling on their civil rights, I don't have much hope for them doing any better under newer regulations.

I've been working with CMS and OCR since August. There is no enforcement in place that's effective because Medicaid is considered under state jurisdiction. The problem is compounded by the fact many states are taking the easy way out and farming their public programs out to for-profit insurance companies.

In the past seven months, the CMS and a federal court judge have said that there is an inherent conflict of interest between state Medicaid employees or contractors, and the people they are supposed to be caring for. That conflict of interest has to be removed before any health care reform can be successful or the tragedies besieging the families of kids with disabilities now will just spread to the rest of the population.
From the Huffington Post

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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.