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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Trump Budget v. People with Disabilities

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss health care issues and state Medicaid services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

At The New York Times, Kathleen O'Brien writes:
President Trump’s budget is here, and it contains serious cuts to the social safety net. One of the big changes is a plan to slash more than $800 billion over the next 10 years from Medicaid.
You may think of Medicaid as a program for the poor, but it also helps a variety of other vulnerable populations. Children with special health care needs rely on the program for services not typically covered by private health insurance, which helps them stay at home with their families. There are about five million children with special health care needs who receive benefits through public health insurance programs, including Medicaid. Proposed limits on a per-person basis are expected to disproportionately affect these children and their families, limiting access to costly but necessary services.
My sweet son is in this category.
At AASA, Sasha Pudelski reports:
Medicaid permits payments to districts for certain medically necessary services made available to children under IDEA through an individualized education program (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Program (IFSP). Given Congress’s failure to commit federal resources to fully-funding IDEAix, Medicaid reimbursement serves as a critical funding stream to ensure districts can provide the specialized instructional supports that students with disabilities need to be educated with their peers. The National Alliance for Medicaid in Education estimates that 1 percent of all Medicaid reimbursement goes to local school districts (between $4-5 billion), which is roughly a quarter of the investment made in IDEA ($17 billion).
AASA asked school leaders to identify how their systems would be impacted by a 30 percent reduction in Medicaid funding. By far, the most common result is that students
with disabilities will be harmed.
Another way special education programs and students may be effected by a Medicaid cut is that without this funding stream, districts be at may risk for noncompliance with IDEA. School leaders note that compliance with one of IDEA’s central tenets, educating students in the least restrictive environment, would be substantially jeopardized by a funding cut. The ability of districts to supplement this funding stream with another federal funding stream—Medicaid—has made the difference in being able to provide
many services for students with disabilities and fully adhere to the requirements in IDEA. As this funding stream disappears at a time when IDEA funds comprise merely 16 percent of the additional cost of educating students with disabilities,xi district leaders are concerned they will be unable to meet critical IDEA mandates. Specifically, they   worry about how to guarantee a student is educated in the least restrictive environment and how to ensure students can access the professionals and supports they need to