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Low-income special ed students hurt most by Rauner, Republican health care plan

by Jennifer Visk | May 04, 2017
TrumpCare 2.0 would strip funds from Illinois school districts already struggling from lack of state funding under Rauner.
May 4, 2017

WESTMONT, IL – As House Republicans seek to take health care away from millions of Americans today, a hidden detail of their plan has emerged that would further harm special education students already injured by Governor Bruce Rauner.
The New York Times just reported on “a little-noticed target in House health bill: special education.” Many Illinois school districts rely on Medicaid to provide special education services, equipment, physical therapists, and even feeding tubes to students in need. The federal funds also help cover preventative care, such as vision and hearing screenings, for millions of eligible families.
TrumpCare 2.0 would strip these funds from Illinois school districts, many of whom are already struggling because under Rauner, the state owes them millions in “categorical reimbursements” for services like special education and transportation.  
“This is a double-whammy for students with special needs,” said Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery, a high school English teacher. “First, Governor Rauner fails to do his job and creates a situation where special education and other programs may shut down because the state can’t reimburse schools to provide these services. And today, President Trump and House Republicans add insult to injury, fighting to prevent families with preexisting conditions, special needs, or lower incomes from receiving health care.
“In two decades of teaching, I have never met a school nurse who at some point hasn’t been the first one to discover and quickly treat a child’s medical condition. Particularly for low-income families who may not have access to affordable care outside of their school, teachers and staff are the front lines when it comes to our students’ health. Cutting funding at the federal and state level for these programs and harming special education students is shameful.
“Rather than using our students as props on his statewide reelection tour, it would be nice if Governor Rauner did his job and fought for the resources our most vulnerable families need.” 

The Times story highlights a Medicaid provider in Murphysboro, IL.  The revelation comes as Governor Rauner moves to swiftly overhaul Illinois’ Medicaid managed care program without a budget in place and goes back on his word to protect a woman’s right to choose
The Illinois Federation of Teachers represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.  


Recent coverage on unpaid bills for special education and other school programs can be found in a recent press release from Illinois Working Together.



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