More than a year after lawmakers originally ordered it, Texas announced Monday it will enact significant cuts to the money that it pays therapists who treat vulnerable children with disabilities in two weeks.
Medicaid reimbursement rates are used to pay for pediatric therapy services provided to disabled babies and toddlers. Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, said that Texas will apply cuts on Medicaid rates on Dec. 15 in attempt to achieve savings directed by the Texas Legislature in 2015.
“The most important job we have is making sure kids have the services they need and that we are responsible with taxpayer dollars,” Williams said in an e-mail. “We will monitor the reduction of rates to ensure access to care is not impacted and that Texans around the state receive the much-needed therapies required to improve their lives.”
In magical thinking budget land, you can cut funding but not impact services. Many of these services, in fact, are pretty cheap, applying early intervention to kids who then don’t require more expensive services later (I wrote about Rauner’s attempt to do these kinds of cuts in Illinois).
Note: The House Speaker vows to reverse cuts. I will believe it when it happens.
And be sure to “read the related coverage.”
- Nearly 300 East Texas children with disabilities who are part of the state’s Early Childhood Intervention program have no one to provide them with medically necessary therapies after the region’s lone provider closed its doors this week in response to hefty budget cuts ordered by state lawmakers.
- Texas health officials testified in court in 2015 that they had not studied how the budget cuts would affect children’s access to medically necessary therapy treatments.
Magical-thinking budget land where less doesn’t mean less because a lawmaker says so, without studying the issue, is dangerous to people with disabilities.
UPDATE: Speaking of Texas, see how they are trashing their special education system.