I have noticed reports and articles on the debate over the health care bill. One issue that I notice has not been brought up in The Newnan Times-Herald are the effects the new bill may have on special-education services. As a special-education teacher and the parent of a child with special needs, I know very well how important the Medicaid reimbursement is for special-education services.
The Individuals with Disability Education Act requires public schools to provide education to all students in a least restrictive environment. A lot of our special-education students receive speech, occupational, physical, and medical services so that they can access a public education. The different services public education provides are costly and are possible due to Medicaid reimbursements.
Republicans’ new health care bill seeks to cut Medicaid spending drastically, leaving over 5 million special-needs students without the funds to receive services. If Medicaid cuts are made, local districts will have to make drastic decisions. This could mean services being cut, downsizing, and the raising of taxes to compensate for the loss.
Special education has been put on the back burner in this debate, and there is just not enough exposure to educate the American people of the real possibilities. My hopes are that the parents and teachers read this and begin to question our government officials. I hope that you read this and begin to help shine a light on this issue. For a community of people who struggle to have their voice heard, we need to be their advocates more than ever.