Monday, April 18, 2011

DHS backing "separate but equal" rights for Medicaid enrollees

With no apparent regard for the change in political party at the governor's level, Hawaii's Department of Human Services is openly backing the health plans' attack on patient rights via S.B. 1274.

According to the latest news released by Rafael del Castillo, "The Dept. of Human Services and the health plans, particularly Evercare and Ohana, are arguing that the Medicaid members will have equal rights even if they are separate. Those of you who are young may not remember, but many of your parents were opposed to the concept of “separate but equal” a generation ago, and the US Supreme Court finally realized that in a just society, if it was supposedly equal, there was no justification for it being separate."

So far, Speaker Calvin Say has assigned House members to the conference committee on SB1274, with Senate members not yet named. Opponents of SB 1274 are asked to please call or fax everyone on this list to let them know you want the bill killed.

Ryan Yamane (D), Phone 808-586-6150 Fax 808-586-6151
Robert Herkes (D), Phone 808-586-8400 Fax 808-586-8404
Gilbert Keith-Agaran (D), Phone 808-586-6210 Fax 808-586-6211
Marilyn B. Lee (D), Phone 808-586-9460 Fax 808-586-9466

John Mizuno (D), Phone 808-586-6050 Fax 808-586-6051
Dee Morikawa (D), Phone 808-586-6280 Fax 808-586-6281
Kymberly Marcos Pine (R), Phone 808-586-9730 Fax 808-586-9738

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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.