Defining ‘Unnecessary’: Bush Cuts Funding For Disabled Children

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"Defining ‘Unnecessary’: Bush Cuts Funding For Disabled Children"

Bush has continually called for cuts in “unnecessary spending.” From his 2006 State of the Union address:

Every year of my presidency, we’ve reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending, and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities.

What kind of spending is unnecessary? In Bush’s view, programs that assist disabled children. The President’s budget will eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for schoolchildren with disabilities, denying them “access to medical services they need to fully participate in school and learn to their greatest abilities.” It cuts funding for medical equipment on buses, transportation to medical appointments, and the administrative costs of identifying children with special medical and learning needs.

If schools are no longer able to seek reimbursement for these services, costs will shift to districts and states already grappling with fiscal constraints. But those who will be most affected are the children and students with disabilities who have already been hurt by January’s drastic Medicaid cuts.

In February, Bush promised to “continue to work to remove barriers that still confront Americans with disabilities and their families.” His budget, however, creates new barriers for disabled children.

- Elena Rocha and Meredith King

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