Major Cuts To Medicaid Could Hurt Special Ed Services In Schools

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With all of the sweeping health care changes under consideration by Senate Republicans, now meeting behind closed doors, critics say it would put school children who receive special ed services in harm’s way. Decisions are expected in the next few weeks.

Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey says the bill could trigger major cuts to Medicaid. The School District of Philadelphia, for example, could lose more than $11 million, and all told, Casey says Medicaid funding for the Commonwealth could be cut $135 million.

“None of those dollars should ever be at risk because a group of extreme ideologues in Washington think they have a better way to do this,” said Casey.

He waved a letter he received from Pamela Simpson of Coatesville, whose 5-year-old son, Rowan, is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and ADHT. She shared her family’s story, with Rowan in tow.

“We measure success with tiny things that most parents take for granted,” said Simpson. “Will my child be able to use the bathroom by himself? Will be he able to tell us what he did at school today? Will he be able to use a spoon? Those therapies are crucial to help us answer questions like this, with the answer, yes!”

Simpson points out without Medicaid benefits, occupational, physical, and speech therapy, and medication would be inaccessible for her young son.

In Casey’s words, this is “about our basic values, and we’re better than that.”

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