Press "Enter" to skip to content

Noem Votes to Take Medicaid Services Away from Special Education Students

Rep. Noem: "You kids don't need Medicaid! If you're disabled, that's God's will!" (photo from @RepKristiNoem, Twitter, 2017.05.03)
Rep. Noem: You kids don’t need Medicaid! If you’re disabled, that’s God’s will, just like my winning the primary!* (photo from @RepKristiNoem, Twitter, 2017.05.03)

Congresswoman Kristi Noem gets to celebrate her heartless, self-interested backing of Trumpcare with an eleven-day break, which I’m sure she will not use to hold town halls every day to explain what she voted for yesterday and why.

It thus falls to the press to explain the details of the House Republican health care plan, like its deep cuts to services for special education students:

School districts rely on Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor, to provide costly services to millions of students with disabilities across the country. For nearly 30 years, Medicaid has helped school systems cover costs for special education services and equipment, from physical therapists to feeding tubes. The money is also used to provide preventive care, such as vision and hearing screenings, for other Medicaid-eligible children.

…The new law would cut Medicaid by $880 billion, or 25 percent, over 10 years and impose a “per-capita cap” on funding for certain groups of people, such as children and the elderly….

…Under a little-noticed provision of the health care bill, states would no longer have to consider schools eligible Medicaid providers, meaning they would not be entitled to reimbursements.

“School-based Medicaid programs serve as a lifeline to children who can’t access critical health care and health services outside of their school,” said the letter sent this week by the Save Medicaid in Schools Coalition, which consists of more than 50 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, and the School Superintendents Association [Erica L. Green, “A Little-Noticed Target in the House Health Bill: Special Education,” New York Times, 2017.05.03].

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says providing services to kids in school through Medicaid has long-lasting positive effects:

Medicaid coverage has a significant positive impact not only on children’s health, but also on their educational attainment and job earnings. Children covered by Medicaid during their childhood have better health as adults, with fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, research shows. Moreover, children covered by Medicaid are more likely to graduate from high school and college and have higher wages and pay more in taxes as adults.

Medicaid’s role in schools goes beyond ensuring that students with disabilities have access to the medical services they need to succeed. Medicaid provides support for health care services delivered in school, which benefit all children — not just those enrolled in Medicaid. In a recent survey of school superintendents, almost half reported that they use the reimbursement their districts receive for services provided to Medicaid-eligible children to expand health-related services and supplies. This includes programs that monitor the health care needs of eligible children with certain conditions such as asthma and diabetes as well as operating clinics within schools to provide dental care to Medicaid-eligible children [Jessica Schubel, “Medicaid Helps Schools Help Children,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2017.04.19].

If Noem is thinking about anything other than doing Trump’s bidding to bolster her chances of winning the Republican gubernatorial primary next June, she probably thinks that she can make up for cutting medical services by giving kids bigger, fattier school lunches.

But voting for this abomination yesterday shows that Noem and her 216 Republican colleagues don’t care about kids or women or the millions (uncounted yet, since Noem raced ahead with this bill before the CBO could analyze the impacts) who would lose insurance under this proposal.

*Update 2018.10.09 17:17 CDT: A reader was confused by my satirical quote. I have removed the quote marks and replaced them with italic font to make clear my satirical intent.


  1. Darin Larson 2017-05-05 08:09

    Kristi knows that we are wasting too much money on kids, specifically poor and disadvantaged kids. Kristi knows that what we need in this country is more money in the pocket of the 1%. That should be our priority.

    Kids are our future everyone says, but what they forget is that people in the 1% are our present. We have to take care of our present before we can look to the future. Right now Kristi recognizes that people in the 1% are struggling. Well, not struggling to make ends meet, but they are struggling to stay in the 1%.

    With all of the planned Trump tax cuts for the rich, the minimum income level to remain in that 1% is going to be rising. I mean it is one thing to be resigned to the uncertainty of always knowing you will be short at the end of the month, but it is entirely a new kind of terror to think you may drop out of the 1% even though your income is rising.

    Finally, it is my sincere wish that Kristi can get some mental health funding for folks worried to death that they will drop out of the 1%. This is the real looming crisis in our future, not the health and education of our kids. Kristi is one of the few that understands this.

  2. bearcreekbat 2017-05-05 11:17

    Darin, maybe Kristi can work on changing the eligibility guidelines for Medicaid. Instead of restricting benefits to those people with income and resources below the guidelines cut off, perhaps she can work to make only those people with income and resources above the guidelines qualify.

    Those without sufficient income and resources to meet the cutoff would lose all eligibility for any Medicaid benefits. And by raising the eligibility guidelines, she can assure the Medicaid money flows only to the panicked 1% you describe – the only group with sufficient income and resources to cross the revised threshold.

  3. mike from iowa 2017-05-05 11:28

    bcb- I’d get on my knees and beseech thee – do not give these fauxknee kristians any useful ideas. They are always looking to punish the have nots more than the law allows.

    Alas, my knees aren’t up to the task. I do believe Noem and fellow whatevers aren’t obligated to buy into this mess they created.

    This is a sudden death situation, to use a sports analogy, In this case the only sudden deaths will be humans thrown off medical care so the koch bros can afford to buy a few more wingnut congressweasels.

  4. Darin Larson 2017-05-05 11:30

    BCB, you are correct. Kristi needs to work on those Medicaid income requirements. It is simply inequitable for those in the 1% not to receive any benefits from Medicaid. After all, they pay the most in taxes. Then, if the 1% see that they are getting some of the benefits from the Medicaid program, they will support it.

    In other words, we need to decrease the benefits to the poor and increase the benefits to the rich of social programs. The poor will always be with us but the 1% can move to Switzerland. We have to start taking care of the 1% in this country. They are the forgotten. I think Trump has a tax plan that can help carry out this new vision.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2017-05-05 11:43

    Pat Powers over at the Dump Site is probably outraged by Noem’s vote against children with disabilities being that he has a child with autism. We should all look forward to a blog chastising the republican war on children.

  6. mike from iowa 2017-05-05 11:47

    From Raw Story- Mark Green, a Republican state senator from Tennessee who is President Donald Trump’s pick to be army secretary, once told a church group that he opposed universal health care because it makes people less likely to embrace Christianity.

    As the Washington Examiner reports, Green said in 2015 that it should be the Christian church’s role to help provide sick people with health care so they can more easily convert them to their religion.

    Drumpf is putting the Army in charge of forcing religion on everyone. Just like Troy’s jeebus would do.

  7. Sheila 2017-05-05 11:56

    Maybe when Kristi gets her “Death Tax” repealed she will work on things that really affect us. The Death Tax only affects the top 1% which I assume includes her.

  8. Bob 'Skippy' Blechinger 2018-10-09 13:42

    Of course, she has NO problem giving multi-TRILLION dollar tax breaks to the Fat Cats who DON’T need them!!!

  9. FeelingBlueInARedState 2018-10-12 19:45

    Medicaid dollars are already well managed in the state. Medicaid is distributed as a block grant from the feds. “Here you go SD, here is your chunk of the $ you choose how you spend it within the Medicaid guidelines.” SD’s DSS approves things like TANF, SNAP (food stamps), and Medicaid. Looks like DSS is already doing a bang up job with the SNAP benefits. As it’s all one application, the Medicaid approval rating is likely equally high.

  10. mike from iowa 2018-10-13 07:00

    From Feeling’s link- The report measures the correctness of a state agency’s action to deny an application, suspend or terminate benefits. It also measures compliance with procedural requirements such as timeliness of the action and customer notification regarding the action.

    Doesn’t sound like the state is meeting the public’s need to eat. Sounds moar like typical right wing infliction of hardship on the poors and others they look down on.

  11. CLCJM 2018-10-17 04:33

    I am sure Noem is very proud of how she has kept my daughter and family from getting health care coverage especially my grandson for working when he was cut off when he was only 16! My daughter is checking to see if they’re going to qualify for the subsidies this fall, thinks they might… if the subsidies don’t get yanked away!

  12. OldSarg 2018-10-17 05:18

    CLCJM nobody kept your daughter and family from health care coverage. That would be called a lie. Maybe your daughter should get a job or even two jobs. That’s what the rest of us do when we need something.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-17 20:24

    OS, Noem/Trump’s policies, especially their promised but undelivered repeal of the ACA, would take vital service away from many Americans.

    Tell me, when you last needed your road plowed, did you go out with your broom and push that snow aside all the way to town?

  14. CLCJM 2018-10-17 22:20

    OldSarge, my daughter has had a job working with the kids this story is about for 13 years! And in the summer she works with another program with the school district! She took a 10% pay cut at 5 years when Rounds/Daugaard cooked the books to create a budget shortfall and cut Medicaid and school budgets! And like I just said my grandson is working and literally got his Medicaid taken away when he turned 16 BECAUSE he was working! You are a very bitter mean man who thinks that even when people work multiple jobs just as hard as they can that they don’t deserve healthcare!
    Oh, they’re getting some services in the ER that then get written off, which then adds to everyone else’s costs and premiums! But just keep on hating everyone else who is less fortunate than you! When you get to the Pearly gates you will be judged just as harshly as everyone you have judged! I will pray that the Good Lord will soften your heart and help you to see beyond your own petty biases!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.