Senator Casey says Medicaid cuts would hurt special education

Written by Rachel McDevitt | May 18, 2017 6:16 PM

Photo by Ben Allen/witf

(Harrisburg) -- The Republican-backed health care bill that passed the U-S House would cut $880 billion from the Medicaid program over the next decade.

Pennsylvania's senior U.S. Senator says that move will not only rob people of heath care, but hurt the commonwealth's schools.

Democratic Senator Bob Casey says most people don't realize Medicaid funds help provide special education services, health screenings, and early intervention pre-k programs that benefit children with disabilities.

Pennsylvania received $135 million in reimbursements for the 2014-15 school year. That includes $1.2 million to Altoona's school district, $600,000 to Harrisburg, and $60,000 to Juniata.

Casey says Congressional Republicans are just trying to pass the bill onto states.

"So the states will have to fund Medicaid or take on a greater share, even while the states have to balance their budgets and the federal government doesn't have to balance its budget," Casey said.

Casey says school districts could see at least a 30 percent cut to school-based Medicaid programs under the House GOP plan.

He says he hopes his Republican colleagues in the Senate will "get their act together."

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