Saturday, April 23, 2011

Guest Post: Medicaid Waivers

As per usual during the ending days of the General Assembly, a bunch of amendments are thrown into the budget (HR 1001) to see what sticks. One of these proposed amendments, Section 139, will change how Medicaid waivers work so that parental income will be a factor when children apply for one.

The following was sent to several members of the state legislature by my mother, Nancy Stone. She works for About Special Kids, a not-for-profit that assists families navigate the mazes that our state and federal government often make families with special needs children go through before they get any type of assistance.

My father, Gordon Gilmer, a long time Indianapolis city-county councilman and I testified many years ago to bring Medicaid Waivers to our state so that children with disabilities would have the support they need to live at home with their families. He witnessed first-hand how devastating serious medical or developmental disability can be to a family, as my son was born with a condition that requires he sleep with a life-supporting ventilator. Lost wages, bankruptcy, parental under or unemployment, inability to pursue other employment (because of insurance), staggering medical debt and divorce are just some of the scenarios middle class, hard-working families face when their child---through no fault of their own, is born with a serious medical or developmental disability. Medicaid Waivers are reserved for the “sickest of the sick”---one must be nursing or group home eligible to qualify for a waiver! I was fortunate that my son never required a Medicaid waiver---but my family learned of those in our state who absolutely NEED these services to survive. Yes, times are tough, but there are other ways to economize without sacrificing Hoosier families. I could support some changes in Medicaid waivers, but the elimination of the parental income disregard is a deal-breaker.

Medicaid Waivers provide a parental income disregard so that hard working, middle class families don’t have to live in poverty to get the medical care and services the child needs to reach their potential. Private insurance does NOT cover, or fully cover, many items and services. HB 1001 would eliminate the parental disregard of income for children under age 19—please strike this wording from the bill and support our tax-paying fellow Hoosier families!

I feel this portion of the bill is short-sighted, and could actually cost the state MORE money in the long run, as some families will be forced to institutionalize their children. My father--a Lincoln Republican, would be disappointed.


Please see the Indy Student Blog Policies page for the full policy on blog comments. Verification of comments by typing in a random word is required to prevent spam. Due to recent blog inactivity, comments are now pre-screened to prevent spam advertisement.