How Are 'Pro-Life' Republicans Screwing Disabled Kids Now? A VERY MAD STORY
Why don't you go make yourself useful?
Time for some Dispatches From The New Cruelty! We have a couple of inspiring stories about government getting out of the way of the American People by screwing over kids with disabilities, because now that America has a businessman in office, there's NO MORE FREE RIDE for all those takers out there, as our deleted commenters love to remind us. We're going to deport all the illegals, and then it's time to take a look at how much money we're wasting on useless crap like educating and caring for disabled kids, who may grow up to be the sort of people Donald Trump isn't even allowed to make fun of in a speech. Time to end the Political Correctness and put our money into something useful, like tax cuts for the rich.
Example One comes from the federal Department of Education, where a website providing information on the educational rights of kids with disabilities happened to vanish from the interwebs just before Betsy DeVos was sworn in as Secretary of Education. U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have written to the Education Department demanding some answers about how and why the site went down, and insisting the site for the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) be restored as soon as possible.
At the moment, a search on the main Education Department website for IDEA brings up a page explaining the dedicated IDEA website servers are "experiencing technical issues"; what's left is a set of links to the law itself and some other resources on disability, but as HuffPo notes, the law itself is written in very technical law-writin' terms, and is hardly a substitute for the original, which was posted during the George W. Bush administration and served
as an aide for parents, students, teachers and school administrations to help them understand the rights of disabled students to an appropriate free public education under the law. The site was updated as modifications were passed and courts continued to interpret the law.
We're certain it's all a complete coincidence, and just an unfortunately timed one at that, since during her confirmation hearings, DeVos embarassed herself by not knowing the federal law governing education for kids with disabilities applied to all states -- in questioning from Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, she mistakenly said it was a matter that was "best left to the states." But regardless of how it happened, it's pretty ridiculous that the site has been down for well over a week now. Cantwell and Murray wrote:
The Department's failure to keep this critical resource operational makes it harder for parents, educators and administrators to find the resources they need to implement this federal law and protect the rights of children with disabilities.
This isn't rocket science, and the previous version of the site was not exactly a political hot potato -- it was just a resource parents and teachers could use to help kids. It needs to be fixed, even if its removal was due to "technical issues."
As HuffPo notes, while DeVos seemed merely ignorant of the law, newly sworn Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been outright hostile to it; back in 2000, then-Sen. Sessions decried the law because it let all those rude spazzy kids into normal-people classrooms, where they're allowed -- even encouraged -- to just blurt out stuff instead of keeping them safely walled up in special rooms for the halt and lame:
“We have created a complex system of federal regulations and laws that have created lawsuit after lawsuit, special treatment for certain children, and that are a big factor in accelerating the decline in civility and discipline in classrooms all over America. I say that very sincerely,” Sessions said.
So there's your nation's new top law enforcer, folks. Time to tell the unsightly and the unnerving their politically-correct gravy train is over!
Meanwhile, in the Great State of Texas, the Dallas Morning News reports that the Lone Brain Cell State has found a great way to save money on Medicaid: Privatize services for severely disabled children, because the Free Market always works more efficiently than a government bureaucracy. If you want to see the New Cruelty at work in the wild, read this story, which should be an inspiration to people who are sick and tired of seeing their tax dollars go to entitled special interests, like the 9-year old severely disabled boy whose mother drove him four hours to a hospital in Dallas, only to learn that the insurance company had denied payment for a potentially life-changing procedure, or the 3-year-old kid with dwarfism who won't be getting surgery to keep his legs from bowing outward, or the 11-year old with epilepsy and cerebral palsy who no longer gets the therapy that had been helping him deal with seizures -- oh, and sometimes the insurance company screws up his prescriptions and medical supplies, too. But just think of all the entrepreneurial creativity going into billing the state!
These children are among 6,000 of Texas’ most vulnerable patients whose lives may have been put at risk by the state’s effort to cut Medicaid costs, their parents say. Lawmakers handed off their children’s care to private companies and nonprofit hospitals in November.
Recent changes to the Medically Dependent Children Program -- which provides aid for children whose maladies are so extreme that they require round the clock “nursing facility level care” -- have caused alarming and widespread problems, a Dallas Morning News investigation found.
The problems go far beyond agonizing red tape and hours of haggling with doctors and insurers over the phone. Parents say that life-or-death prescriptions aren’t being filled in a safe time frame and that children are losing access to specialists and nurses who are trained to treat rare and chronic disorders. Procedures and exams are being denied, they say, and impassioned complaints to the state are going nowhere.
Amy Pratt, the woman whose 9-year-old was denied the surgery, eventually persuaded the health plan to cover it, but only after she spent hours on the phone and got state legislators to help. But doesn't she understand this is more efficient? Under Texas's old system, her kid might have gotten treatment quickly, but so would lots of other kids, and maybe some of them were freeloaders! Under the new system, called "STAR Kids," which has to be good because it's a great name, the state farms out care for severely disabled children, and for about 160,000 other kids with less severe disabilities, to "private health groups called managed care organizations, or MCOs." This saves the state oodles of money on administrative costs, and allows it to simply write a few big checks to the MCOs, which take care of the billing and the provision -- or non-provision, if they aren't all that into it -- of services.
But it turns out STAR Kids, even with its awesome name (bet they have a neat logo, too!), is having a difficult roll-out, which shouldn't bother anyone since the free market is always better. Oh, sure, the state's Health and Human Services Commission has received over 730 complaints in the first three months of the program, but that's probably just because parents of disabled children have an unhealthy sense of entitlement, always whining that their kid "deserves" life-sustaining medication and treatment. It's part of that whole breakdown in civility Jeff Sessions warned about. The enemies of the free market at the Dallas Morning News tried using an open records request to review some of those hundreds of complaint, but the commission denied it because of "patient privacy" (apparently the budget for black redaction pens was cut, too) and also none of your damn business.
Parents' groups have attempted to launch email and Twitter campaigns to get legislators' attention focused on the problems with STAR Kids, but that hasn't gone very well either, probably because parents of severely disabled kids aren't nearly as good at bundling campaign contributions as oil, gas, and chemical industry lobbyists.
There's a lot more, and we urge you to go read the whole heartbreaking story at the Dallas Morning News, as long as you've taken your own blood-pressure meds today. Considering that the federal government is hell-bent on privatizing Medicare, turning Medicaid into one big block grant program, and turning over all sorts of taxpayer money to let the Free Market work its wizardry, it's a pretty good warning. Given the "alt-right" influence in the Trump administration, we're sure it won't take long for enrollees in STAR Kids to get a whole new designation: "Useless eaters," or maybe "life unworthy of life," for whom there will no doubt be a final cost-saving solution. The free ride is OVER, you leeches.
[Dallas Morning News / Seattle Post-Intelligencer / HuffPo / Image: "Just Like Me" doll accessory from Flaghouse.com]
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.