Monday, February 28, 2005

First Steps Update

Blunt supports reformed First Steps program
Associated Press
ST. LOUIS - Gov. Matt Blunt outlined a proposal Monday that would largely keep intact the First Steps program for developmentally disabled children but would require families and insurance companies to pick up more of the tab. . . .

Blunt planned to keep the First Steps name, but supports legislative changes requiring participating families to pay a fee on a sliding scale, with the highest costing $100 per month.

We can afford this. If the system ends up working exactly the same as it currently does, but with those of us who can afford it paying $100/month, I will be OK with the changes. (The first news reports called for $100/session, and Ellie has 4-7 sessions a week so the cost for us would have been astronomical.)

One concern I have is the private insurance part. I hope that I don't end up having to spend hours each month fighting with our insurance company to pay for therapy services and equipment needs. Under the current First Steps program, the therapists and I talk about what Ellie needs, then we request it from her case manager who gives us the thumbs up or thumbs down. It's a very efficient system. I don't want insurance companies - rather than a case manager who's involved with Ellie's care - deciding when it's acceptable for her to receive the care she needs.

The real bummer? Blunt says that funding will come from "money saved by changes in Medicaid." This is a real mixed blessing. I am so glad that Ellie and other young children with special needs are getting the services they need. I am very sad that these services are being funded at the expense of Missouri's neediest families. My senator is sponsoring the legislation.

Short related rant. Why does Governor Blunt now insist that he never meant to cut the program, when he so obviously did cut the program? What's so wrong with admitting that you made a mistake, that you misunderstood what the program was about? All this stress for $2 million dollars: a fraction of a percent of the state's budget.

1 comment:

Psycho Kitty said...

Sigh. I wish it were better, but I'm glad that it will be enough, for now at least. God, it's an effed up country sometimes.