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Cut Medicaid ~AND~ Taxes?

As you may know from recent news coverage, one of the main proposals included in Governor Heineman’s “State of the State” address last week was a proposal to cut taxes for corporations and individuals.   That same day, the Governor also released his budget recommendation for the coming year.

Among the recommendations was a proposal for cuts to Medicaid, a joint federal and state health insurance program for our state’s poorest children and disabled adults.  The recommendations include limiting behavioral health services, limiting or eliminated some home health services for disabled adults and children, and eliminating Medicaid coverage for oral nutritional supplements.

When we talk about something like Medicaid cuts on a policy level, it can often seem so abstract that the real human cost never gets conveyed.  When we drill down on some of these cuts, the real impact becomes clear.  Take for example the governor’s proposal to eliminate Medicaid coverage for oral nutritional supplements such as Similac.   According to numbers provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, there are about 985 kids in our state who would be impacted by this change.  Although we don’t know exact numbers on how many of these children are disabled, we do know that oral nutritional supplements are often the only option for a food source for children who have to be fed through a tube due to severe disabilities.

Tax cuts aren’t necessarily a bad thing by themselves, but we shouldn’t cut essential medical care to pay for them.  What message does that send about our state?  It says we no longer care for families with a disabled child in need of life-saving  nutrition.

State Senator Jeremy Nordquist has introduced a bill to stop these proposed Medicaid cuts.  We hope that as we move forward into what some have called “the session of children” that we pay special attention to our state’s poorest and most vulnerable children.   Medicaid is a vital safety net for these children and families, and the loss of these Medicaid services won’t be balanced out by the small tax cut they would receive under the Governor’s plan.

Thank you to taking the time to share!

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