Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Arizona joins Florida and Hawaii in battles against patient rights

According to Disability Scoop, Arizona is considering state legislation that "would strip all of the state’s 32 health insurance requirements, including one mandating autism coverage."

Earlier this month, Governor Jan Brewer signed the state's 2012 budget, lauding its "reform" of Medicaid. "The reductions equal the amount cut over the previous two years. Many of those cuts make permanent changes to state law, meaning the programs they support will not return when state coffers are again flush with cash."

In Hawaii, for-profit Medicaid HMOs are openly supporting state legislation that would slash the patient rights of 264,000 people on Medicaid. In Florida, the state legislature is trying to completely rewrite Medicaid and force everyone into for-profit HMOs.

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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.