Lindsay Kvam BSN RN
Stop Texas Cutbacks to Medicaid to Disabled Children
Texas state lawmakers decided to slash $350 million in funding for pediatric therapy services provided to children with disabilities. Texas is moving ahead with these cuts that reduce funding for Early Childhood Intervention for children with disabilities. Early Childhood interventions for communication, physical and learning delays unlock the greatest potential for children with disabilities. Moreover, sixty thousand Texas children from newborns to three years old are affected by this takeaway of funding. This move to eke out budget savings on the backs of our most vulnerable children is a terrible way to balance a budget. The $350 million dollar cuts to Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled, cuts speech, physical and occupational therapy by providers for children with disabilities. Providers argue that the cuts are so steep that they would have to close their businesses leaving these 60,000 children without the therapy they need. My grandson has Down Syndrome and has greatly benefited with Early Childhood Intervention. I am especially concerned because to get the therapy, he has needed was actually very difficult, even with Medicaid funding because of the red tape and qualifying. To cut Medicaid funding will make it impossible to get Early Childhood Intervention for our Texas children. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission and several health insurers with state contracts denied those allegations regarding the cutbacks, but they are basically creating a situation where there will be no services available anyway. There is going to be heartbreak when parents find out their children with disabilities won't be able to get help learning to walk or eat,” said Stephanie Rubin, chief executive of the advocacy group Texans Care for Children. “We need the Legislature to put these therapy cuts on hold until they can come back next year and ensure kids with disabilities and developmental delays get the support they need to reach their potential.” A spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees Medicaid, did not say when the cuts would take effect but said state officials were "working with the Attorney General's office on next steps." Please send a message to Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Joe Straus in Austin to make sure budget cuts don't hurt our most vulnerable children!