You have to hand it to the Republicans: Even when they're trying to be less cruel, they still end up looking like monsters.
At some point during the secret sessions spent writing the Senate's healthcare bill, someone noticed that the deep cuts to Medicaid would leave about 5 to 6 million children with special needs left hanging. So, mindful of the optics of cutting these necessary services to give a massive tax cut to the rich, Republicans carved out special exceptions for them, picking and choosing what kinds of special needs would be safe from the draconian cuts. And they still left up to 4 million children in the lurch:
The new Senate health bill would drastically affect children who depend on Medicaid to cover their special medical needs, even though Senate Republicans tried to shield them, reports Kaiser Health News. The legislation would exempt many young recipients from the new, highly-restrictive Medicaid spending caps that are applied on a per-person basis — but as many as 4 million wouldn't qualify the way the exemption is written.
What's at stake: Children with special conditions, such as those with cystic fibrosis, autism, and Down syndrome, would be subject to the cuts determined by their state, who are already under mounting financial pressure.
Just as an aside, these carve outs put the lie to the GOP claim that Medicaid is not being cut. If you have to tweak the bill to keep people from losing coverage, you are, by definition, reducing coverage. Otherwise you wouldn't need the damn tweaks.
Even though I've mentioned it several times before, as the parent of a special needs child myself, it's impossible to truly convey the lifeline these services represent. Autism, Down Syndrome, and cystic fibrosis, conditions that will fall through the cracks of the GOP's "generous" carve outs, require constant attention every minute of every day. Forever. The more severe the impact, the more difficult it is to meet the needs of the child until it becomes impossible for the parents unless they have an extended circle of family that is willing to help. And even then the expense can overwhelm all but the wealthiest families.
One of the few things that can alleviate this all-consuming burden (and it is a burden no matter how much we love our special needs children) are the kinds of services covered by Medicaid. To take that away just so the rich can be a little richer is, to be perfectly blunt, monstrous. Republicans claim that they want to cover every special needs child but they don't have the information necessary to write the legislation the right way. The bill will require states to gather that information so the law can be amended later to cover everyone. In the meantime, those 4 million children are just out of luck.
Sorry, kids, but the Koch brothers need that money to buy a few more politicians. It's a sick and twisted way to craft healthcare policy but, really, can we expect any better from the modern Republican Party?
There are 483 days left to the 2018 elections.
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