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But they’re poor and/or disabled, so they’re expendable

Just when you already thought the crapsack “American Health Care Act” was already one of the worst ideas ever celebrated by Republicans, here’s some even more cheerful news about exactly how bad it is: Under the House bill passed Thursday, the AHCA’s Medicaid cuts will have a devastating effect on disabled children and their families, and on special education programs in schools. Not a problem, though, since maybe some billionaires benefiting from the bill’s huge tax cuts will start a charity to help some of the affected kids, especially if they’re photogenic and don’t have particularly unattractive disabilities. Let’s see how Trumpcare will extend the blessings of the New Cruelty to some of the most vulnerable people possible, who had the poor foresight not to form a powerful lobbying group.

Kids with disabilities are going to lose all sorts of assistance under the House bill, which will not only cut federal Medicaid support to states across the board, bus also changes the way Medicaid works in a fundamental way, placing “per-capita caps” on Medicaid benefits for each state. Paul Ryan is SO PROUD OF THIS, because it will finally stop poor people from getting all that healthcare they don’t deserve. The Center for American Progress details just some of the ways this new funding approach will hurt kids with disabilities. Among the services that’ll see cuts:

  • Screening, diagnostic, and treatment for kids with disabilities, including preventive services, testing and treatment for vision, dental, and hearing services.
  • Home and community-based therapy and services, which provides kids therapeutic services and medical supplies in the home instead of putting them in institutions. Saves money and allows families to keep kids with intellectual or developmental disabilities at home, but has to be cut because such services still cost something. Will many of the affected kids have to be institutionalized at a much higher cost to the public? Almost certainly, but since they won’t be out in public making non-disabled people feel uncomfortable — or worse, aware that THEIR TAX DOLLARS are being spent on someone else’s kid — nobody will notice or care! Win-Win, except for the families and the kids, and we’ve already established that other people’s children aren’t a priority for Republicans, at least once they’re out of the womb.
  • Prescription drugs: Medicaid helps kids get prescription treatments that help alleviate symptoms related to their disabilities. See “Other People’s Children” above. Fuck ’em, they cost money. Since when am I obliged to pay for your bad choices/bad luck in the genetic lottery/God’s will?
Also, since kids with disabilities make up one of the largest portions of the population served by Medicaid, caps on Medicaid assistance to states will hit them hardest. Just as well. A lot of people feel really uncomfortable when they see a tiny kid in a wheelchair with their face and limbs working all wrong, so cutting the funding will mean they stay home (or in a home) and then we won’t have to see that. You don’t see Donald Trump surrounding himself with a lot of visibly disabled kids, now do you? He already has experience in cutting off medical help for his own nephew’s severely disabled child, because he was angry at the nephew, so he’s probably ready to take that national and declare a purge of the lame, halt, and the unsettling from the public sphere. While he’s cutting off the useless eaters, Trump might even treat us to a hilarious parody of the funny way they move and talk.

Then there’s this New York Times story on how the AHCA will eliminate altogether one itsy-bitsy part of the Medicaid program, which will have a huge effect on special education programs in schools across the country. It’s such a small thing that you just know it couldn’t have been inadvertently cut — some bastards had to know it was there to get rid of it. Beyond the services provided to all kids on Medicaid, the program also helps millions of kids through their schools, helping with costs for physical therapy or feeding tubes. The huge cuts to Medicaid — $880 billion over 10 years — would have a direct effect on schools, too, according to a letter to Congress from AASA, a national group for school superintendents. The cuts, say the school advocates, would amount to rationing healthcare for disabled kids. But healthcare rationing is fine when Republicans do it — it’s only a death panel if Democrats ask for money for hospice.

Under the new Medicaid block-grant scheme, schools would no longer be considered “eligible Medicaid providers,” so they wouldn’t be eligible for reimbursements of services they provide to kids in special ed programs. Nifty little change, huh? Just THINK of all the money that’ll be saved to give to those deserving — and far more economically productive! — rich folks! Wouldn’t you know it, some liberal takers, who think the world owes disabled kids a living, are crying like snowflakes about that new arrangement, probably because it will mean less money for their Special Education Cadillacs:

“School-based Medicaid programs serve as a lifeline to children who can’t access critical health care and health services outside of their school,” said the letter sent this week by the Save Medicaid in Schools Coalition, which consists of more than 50 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, and the School Superintendents Association.

Schools are already required to provide services to kids with disabilities under federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act; if that change in the AHCA becomes law, they’ll still be required to provide the services, but a key source of funding will dry up. Then again, under the Trump Regime, this may not be an issue, since Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants special education to be left up to the states anyway, and brand new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was fine with absolutely minimal services for kids with disabilities — an opinion the full SCOTUS reversed during his confirmation hearings, how embarrassing.

In any case, should any parents of kids with disabilities make a fuss, we’re sure they’ll shut up once it’s explained to them that their kids aren’t economically useful and they should go cry to a church or something. America is no longer in the business of “helping people,” for fuckssake. To help quiet down the parents, perhaps lists of applicants for Medicaid could be made public so the Online Flying Monkey Brigade can descend on them with funny memes of Pepe the Frog throwing their kids into gas chambers.

Called your senators yet?

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[NYT / Center for American Progress]

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