Thomas Cagle (
Tue, 7 Apr 1998 20:21:35 -0400

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From: "Laura R. Mitchell" <>

The following report is from California Healthline.  

The very disturbing court decision discussed below and the response of
government officials shows the kind of insensitive attitudes and
about disability-related health-care issues that we *must* somehow

Kudos to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for joining with United
Cerebral Palsy and other groups on the amicus brief.


[Message forwarded by Laura R. Mitchell.]

     A coalition of disabled patients and their advocates
denounced yesterday at the Connecticut Capitol a court decision
that denies "medically necessary equipment to Medicaid
recipients," the Hartford Courant reports (Pazniokas, 4/7).  The
2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City's ruling
"would vastly expand the authority" of Connecticut, New York and
Vermont "to deny some treatments and equipment for people who,
for example, suffer from diseases associated with AIDS" and would
also "give state Medicaid agencies a free hand to turn down
requests for specialized wheelchairs and respiratory aids for
people with breathing difficulties."  In the February 24 ruling,
a panel of three judges said their edict "upheld federal law as
interpreted by the Department of Health and Human Services," the
New York Times reports (Rabinovitz, 4/7).  The ruling stated:  "a
state may impose coverage limitations that result in denial of
medically necessary services to an individual Medicaid recipient,
so long as the health care provided is adequate with respect to
the needs of the Medicaid population as a whole."  
     But at the rally yesterday, the Connecticut Union of
Disability Action Groups called on Gov. John Rowland (R) to
"voluntarily" change the policy based on what it called an
"unprecedented court decision."  And the New Haven Legal
Assistance filed a brief asking the entire Appeals Court to
review the decision that it said "constitutes an abrupt,
unprecedented break with over 20 years of federal court
jurisprudence in the Medicaid area."  Legal aid attorney Sheldon
Toubman called the decision "a death sentence" for some disabled
people and said that "such a radical break with established
precedent should not occur without due consideration by the
entire court" (Courant, 4/7).  Connecticut officials yesterday
defended their ruling, "saying that it upheld the state's right
to manage its own Medicaid program, and added that people who
opposed the ruling should seek redress in Congress or the state
     Connecticut Social Services Department spokesperson David
Dearborn said, "The crux of the issue is what is medically
necessary equipment that the public should pay for, as opposed to
quality-of-life equipment that we would all like to have, but
might break the bank eventually and interfere with any state's
right to run a Medicaid program."   An amicus brief was also
filed yesterday on behalf of the National Multiple Sclerosis
Society, United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Gay Men's Health
Crisis, the Medical Society of the State of New York and several
dozen other groups (Times, 4/7).  In the brief, Lewis Golinker
argued that the Medicaid population "as a whole" does not have
AIDS, etc., but by the "2nd Circuit's new standard, Medicaid
patients with those illnesses are not entitled to coverage"
(Courant, 4/7).  The Times reports that Rowland yesterday
directed Joyce Thomas, Connecticut social service commissioner,
to review how the state "handles its Medicaid claims" (4/7).

  |   0       People with disabilities: A resource to recognize,     |
  |   |_	         *not* a problem to solve!                   | 
  |  ( \_)  =========================================================|   
  |   ***   (c) 1998, Laura Remson Mitchell   e-mail: |
  |                                                                  |
  | 		Visit my personal home page at                      
  |            |

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