The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Obama Administration’s Strange Approach to Special-Needs Families


Over in the Examiner, Kirstan Hawkins examines the appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to the Department of Health and Human Services to oversee the nation’s Medicaid and Medicare system.

While I was helping my 1-year-old son, Gunner, do his life-prolonging breathing treatment, his president betrayed him and others who suffer from cystic fibrosis. Obama appointed a man who advocates rationing of health care and praises the disastrous British National Health Service to head one of the most important positions in the entire U.S. health care system…

Looking at Berwick’s project, British NHS, it looks like services for those who need it the most, the terminally ill and elderly, will be first to go.

Make no mistake about it, whatever Medicaid and Medicare decide to do, private health plans will follow their lead.

President Obama and Berwick’s goal is to turn the U.S. health care system into a redistributive system. Berwick has stated, “Any health care plan that is just civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer to the poorer.”

For those like my son who need expensive, lifelong treatment, our only hope is that the U.S. system doesn’t “redistribute” to the British NHS extreme, where they won’t even let patients pay out of pocket for lifesaving treatments because it is unfair to those who can’t afford them.

Too harsh, you say? There’s no reason to think this administration’s policies would ever short-shrift parents of special needs, right? Eh, wait:

The “Special Needs Kids Tax” takes effect Jan. 1, 2011:  This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit).  There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year.  Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.  (Page 1999/Sec. 9005/$14 billion)

Well, I’m sure that’s just a necessary evil to keep costs in line. It’s not like medical experts cited by the administration openly write things like:

Services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia. A less obvious example is guaranteeing neuropsychological services to ensure children with learning disabilities can read and learn to reason.

Well, that’s just some doctor writing in a medical journal, I’m sure that this guy has no real influence over the administration’s thinking on this issue . . . oh, wait, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. Brother of Rahm. Ah.

Well, look, it’s not like the president has gone on national television and cracked jokes at the expense of special needs children. Oh, wait

Tags: Barack Obama , Rahm Emanuel


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