Mike the Mad Biologist

Because nothing says compassionate conservatism like cutting funding for poor disabled children. From the Washington Post:

The Bush administration issued a new rule Friday that eliminates Medicaid reimbursement for certain transportation and administrative tasks undertaken by schools on behalf of students with disabilities.

A wide range of medical services are furnished to students in schools. Speech and physical therapy are typical examples. Medicaid, the government’s health insurance program for the poor, helps pay for those activities for low-income children. It will continue to pay. However, the new rule will restrict when schools can bill the federal government for clerical duties associated with providing health care.

For example, schools can no longer expect Medicaid reimbursement for the planning of student immunizations. Schools also won’t get paid for transporting students getting speech or physical therapy to school or back home.

The savings to the federal government is projected at $3.6 billion over the next five years. During that same period, the federal government will spend an estimated $1.2 trillion on Medicaid.

Lawmakers were so concerned about the rule that they passed legislation this past week that placed a six-month moratorium on it. More than 1,200 people wrote in to comment on the proposal _ most opposed. School principals and superintendents said that the loss of money could mean that schools will have to cut back on other programs. For example, one opponent said that Medicaid reimbursement allows staff to attend workshops and purchase “needed technology and materials to better educate our children.”

Medicaid officials replied that most of the comments validated their concern that schools were improperly using Medicaid funding to pay for services “that are clearly educational in nature.”

How stupid are these Medicaid officials? If schools have to use their own educational funds to administer health programs, that is less money to spend on education. It stands to reason that schools should get an equivalent reimbursement in their educational programs.

Oh, reason. No wonder the Bush Administration is doing this. And four days before Christmas, no less. For once, I would like to see the Christmas warriors actually fight for the spirit of the holiday…like helping poor disabled children.

Bah fucking humbug.