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Groups: Time to Rebuild Medicaid

Based on an alternative budget from the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, the Gem State could end up with $35 million for Medicaid by shifting some funding decisions.  Image courtesy of Pfc. Jahn R. Kuiper
Based on an alternative budget from the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, the Gem State could end up with $35 million for Medicaid by shifting some funding decisions. Image courtesy of Pfc. Jahn R. Kuiper
February 7, 2014

BOISE, Idaho – The cutting has gone too far in Idaho, and it's time for restoration.

That's the message in Steps to Rebuild Medicaid from disability rights groups.

They want legislators to take a close look at how cuts have affected children and families.

For example, some parents of children with mental disabilities have been advised to have their children charged with a crime so they can receive priority for therapy.

And Angela Lindig, executive director of Idaho Parents Unlimited, says the cuts meant that intensive therapies for children with developmental disabilities went from 30 hours a week to six.

"I worry for the very young kids what their level of independence, skill level and what their abilities will be 18 years from now if we don't provide the proper interventions," she says.

Lindig points out some changes in services were supposed to make them more tailored, but coupled with budget cuts, they resulted in fewer services.

She credits intensive therapies with preparing her teen daughter with a disability for a life of independence.

Lindig stresses that taxes don't have to go up for Idaho to restore Medicaid – and not just for children, but for adults, too.

Based on an alternative budget from the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, the Gem State could end up with $35 million for Medicaid by shifting some funding decisions – and accepting a redesign of Medicaid that comes with federal dollars.

"Re-examining children's services and looking how the alternative budget proposal,” she says, “how could children's services be provided."

Disability Rights Idaho and Community Partnerships of Idaho support restoration of Medicaid.

A legislative committee already has killed the Medicaid redesign idea for this year.



Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID