Immigrant Families, please move to the head of the Medicaid line.

It’s that time of year.

The Utah legislature is in session.

In all  their glory.

As usual, there are those who choose to focus on balancing the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable.

Services for the disabled in the state of Utah are a relatively small part of the budget.

And cuts to these services are nothing less than devastating.

Last year disabled programs took a disproportionate hits compared to other areas cut.



not proportionate; out of proportion, as in size or number.

too much; overdone




This year the cuts could be much worse.  As much as 7 percent.

The leaders of Utah should be ashamed of how they treat the special needs population in this state.

Especially as many would stand up on Sunday to  proclaim their testimony of the magnificence of the spirits of those like Parker.

Yet on Monday vote to make the lives of these magnificent spirits harder.

Their worth less valued.

As these same men and women vote to make cuts for the disabled, they gather to create S.B. 44, which would provide health insurance to the children of immigrants who have yet to even live here 5 year.  (Previously, even those here legally were required to wait 5 years before receiving government assistance.)

Not to mention the illegal immigrants who don’t even need proof of citizenship to receive not only medical care, but services such as WIC.

34 In accordance with the provisions of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program

35 Reauthorization Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-3, and all other applicable requirements of

36 federal law and rule, the department shall amend the state Medicaid plan to provide coverage

37 under the Medicaid program to a client who is:

38 (1) a child; and

39 (2) a legal immigrant to the United States, regardless of the length of time that the

40 person described in Subsection (1) has been in the United States.

*This bill would  waive the usual 5 year wait for immigrants to be able to apply for Medicaid.*

While my child, a child born to parents who have no place else to turn, no easy border to cross, or even the physical ability to do so,   has services stripped away.

Families of a child with special needs can wait for years to make their way onto the list of those receiving Medicaid.

Many never reach that coveted spot, losing their  homes as they mark their time

Public access to benefits for immigrant families, no waiting required.

Utah, your  generosity is impressive.

Unless of course you are a person with special needs.

Then you, and your family, are screwed.

Very generously and impressively screwed.

ps: Utah legislators, how are you enjoying those brand spankin’ new big screen televisions you voted to supply yourselves with last year?

About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. Well I guess all our illegal immigrants from New Mexico might just have to move to Utah. They cannot get Medicaid in NM, but as soon as one of those pregnant illegal immigrants gives birth, her baby can get Medicaid because it’s being born in the US and is a US citizen. We are having budget cuts big time in NM. They are cutting all programs for special needs kids. Including the DD waiver, which is really the only thing we could get for Jayden. But it has an 8 year waiting list. That waiting list, I think, is going to be longer than 8 years with all our budget cuts. We don’t qualify for SSI or Medicaid, so we are on our own when it comes to paying for things Jayden needs. Our only thing going for us is that my husband works at our local hospital and we have pretty dang good insurance that continues to pay for the services and things Jayden needs. We do get the early intervention services but that will end as soon as Jayden starts preschool in the fall.

  2. You know it makes me so crazy too! I haven’t had to worry to much about it, we have great insurance, and our lifetime max is higher than most, so I have a while before Jax hits it. But our sweet friend Kristen, whose insurance denied her life saving bone marrow transplant! What the hell happened to the child first and always? And that Primarys didn’t deny care to any child? But illegal aliens come to Primary and get whatever care they need at no cost (not to mention loads of meal passes from the parent resource center)

    • Lacey, I didn’t know they had denied Kristen’s bone marrow transplant. My heart is broken.

      We also discovered, when we tried to apply for funds via the Children’s Miracle Network to help with Parker’s pull down surgery to happen in Cinni, that these funds are mainly to help cover the cost of health care to those who are here illegally. That, and children from countries (we were given the example of Iran) who couldn’t get a certain procedure done in their country.

      But US get any assistance? Nope. Nada.

      I’m just so very thankful that we found Dr. Downey up at PCMC.

      You know, I’ve never had a parent meal pass up there? Well, except when we’ve been there over Thanksgiving or Christmas, when they give them to everyone. Where’s the parent resource center?

  3. Wait, doesn’t the bill read “legal immigrants”, while you claim it is providing benefits to the children of “illegal immigrants”?

    • Jenn,

      Good eye. I tried to clarify in my post, but let me try here again. There are those born of illegal immigrants that when born here are considered citizens. THEN there are those who are legal immigrants, who before this bill were required to wait five years before being eligible for any kind of government assistance. The Utah legislature now wants to do away with that five year wait and allow these children to receive either Medicaid OR CHIP during CHIP’s enrollment times, regardless of how long they have lived here.

      This is my understanding after my personal research and speaking with a local reporter.

      If anyone has other information, I’d love to hear it. I’d love to know I’m wrong on this. Because it really kind of hurts my heart that each year the Legislature looks to special needs services to balance a budget.

      Please understand that in my mind all kids deserve health care.

      However it makes me very stabby to see that services to those with special needs who have families who have been here for generations and who have no other countries to turn to for help, have services CUT, while immigrants get to move to the head of the Medicaid line.

      It took us THREE years and Parker’s trach to receive Medicaid via the Travis C. Waiver. Even when Parker was on O2 24/7 and we were literally paying THOUSANDS of dollars out of pocket (using our credit card) for meds our insurance company didn’t cover, we still didn’t qualify for any help at. all.

      To me this is pure discrimination against those with special needs, while immigrants both illegal and those who may be legal but haven’t even lived here long enough to pay INTO the system get to move to the head of the line.

  4. Apparently someone recently stole our identity and checked their child into Primary Children’s Hospital under my daughters name. When I first received word of this, my first reaction was anger, violation and frustration. After these feeling passed I thought how sad it was that someone had to steal our identity just to get basic health care for their child. I’m so sorry for the frustration you must be going through to receive medical services. I hope your involvement and tenacity to vocalize this flaw in the system will continue to bring some awareness, but I’m sorry you have to go through this.

  5. Chris says:

    The other side of the coin… People who have no benefits still get sick and can not be turned away from emergency treatment at hospitals. Said hospitals then have to eat the costs of treatment because immigrants are not reliabley billable- sketchy addresses, no legal repercussions. Said hospitals are powerful and lobby the government for action so that they can get reimbursed someohow. People like us, on the other hand, can be billed, have collections placed, etc. For the individual, ‘it’s just business’ (not my thoughts- theirs). Health care must be reformed to level the playing field. Off my soapbox now.

    • I totally understand where you are coming from, Chris. And truth be told I think all kids should have medical care. Just not at the cost of those in the special needs community, ifkwim.

      And Utah is FAMOUS from taking from the special needs community FIRST.

      AND there is a bill in progress right now that would exempt Utah from any kind of public health care if indeed that public health care passes.

      I kid you not.

      In this state people run for their OWN AGENDA. They vote in ways that never seem to affect (effect? arg. I am so tired.) them.

      A kid can DIE, but by damn their roads (and then company they work for) will profit.

      These same people voted that no matter what they did they couldn’t be held to a conflict of interest cause. Just barely it’s been voted that they can’t accept over a 10.00 gift……kickback, etc. from lobbyists. It was THAT bad.

      I believe that many in this state simply vote straight Republican party….never even looking to see what that person’s platform is. Just as long as they aren’t a (gasp!) Democrat.

      Wait until I send you the info that Reed just sent me about what they are doing to one of our local school districts. I seriously pray that Reed still has a job come next year.

  6. We have a child with special needs and know many people who get medicaid using the social security system that shouldn’t be getting it any longer. We are on a 9 year waiting list to get services and we have to pay cobra. We have a multi million dollar bill at PCMC and we have had other serivces that we have t privatly pay for. Parker at least only had 2 wait 3 years. You still have a house. We can’t even attempt to BUY one of our own. Yes your kids lost their college fund but ours WON”T even get one. If they cut these programs we are in HUGE HUGE trouble. In 10 months we lose our cobra and we have NO options.. NOTHING nada…

    I personally hope the national healthcare bill passes so I can get coverage for my child that isn’t “severe” by some standards. EVen standards of those who have special needs kids

    • Carol, I couldn’t agree with you more.

      The only reason we have Medicaid is due to BOTH Parker’s trach AND his vent.

      I just want to make sure you knew that we don’t get Medicaid for Parker because of Social Security. We never qualified.

      Unfortunately, that is how the system in Utah works. When Parker was on O2 24/7 and a c-pap at night, we didn’t qualify.

      Yes, we do still have our home.

      And my kids are working their own way through college.

      I couldn’t control when Parker joined our family. He came at a time when we had some college funds stashed away. (If he would have been our first, we wouldn’t have had a house OR college funds.) And we used those college funds, plus a hell of a lot of space on several credit cards to pay medical bills.

      And even then, if it hadn’t been for the generosity and love of many, many others, we have no idea what we would have done.

      Carol, on this blog I tell OUR story. From my point of view…….which is the only one I have. I tell our story truthfully. I’ve peeled back layers that have even surprised me after I pushed the publish button.

      We still have our home. But my son’s lifespan will be significantly shorter than most.

      You win some……….and you really, really, really lose some.

      Each of these things are truths.

      I have YET to be able to figure out a way to control either the wins or the losses.

      I wrote this post because of the injustice of families like yours having to wait 9 years to get services, while the children of immigrants no longer will have to wait those five years……..they could get services immediately.

      I wrote this post because if services are cut for Parker we, too, are up a creek without a paddle. Even if we could sell our home, what we would walk away with wouldn’t keep Parker alive for a year.

      I wrote this post because how this state treats their children with special needs is criminal.

      I am totally on YOUR side with this.

      Carol, together, we as parents of children with special needs have a strong voice. But if we can’t even find a way to support each other, then where are we? (We as in all of us.)

      I spend a lot of times advocating for children with special needs. I’d love to work together if you are ever interested.

  7. beverly says:

    this is crazy to me as well. I just dont get it. it is scary for sure. I feel bad for those with out insurance but americans should come first!

  8. ((hugs))
    I’m not so sure about public/socialized health care, but obviously what we’re doing isn’t working. I’m more in favor of reforming the field of health insurance.

    Things are ugly here in AZ too- providers took a 10% rate cut last year and are looking at another potential cut this year.

  9. I agree with you in a lot of aspects regarding the medicaid program. I, fortunately, am one of the families that does receive benefits from medicaid via the Social Security program. We were approved for the program years ago and financially still qualify for it. If we didn’t have the program our bills for my sons feeding pump and medications would run me around $500 a month or more and that would be our portion after our private insurance has paid their 80%. I don’t think it is right that there are people out there who cannot get what they need simply because they are not of the right nationality. I don’t know what the answer is. I do like the Presidents stand on pre-existing conditions being waived. However there are people who do take advantage of the system and then will be able to get things covered even though they shouldn’t. Maybe the wording should be conditions that the person has had since birth be waived or something to that effect. I like the fact that there would be no lifetime maximum. It is not our childrens fault that they were born with something that they had no control over and something that costs a lot to take care of.

    I think that we as Utahns have also been very spoiled in the sense that until recently financial problems have not been a factor in a lot of things and now the economy and the recession is rearing if horrible head. I don’t think that people with disabilities should have their benefits cut at all. There are people who really need the coverage and the help. Unfortunately everyone is going to suffer in a lot of things. Our medicaid program is going to suffer because of budget issues, our schools are going to suffer because of budget issues, things aren’t going to be as easy as they have been in all aspects because of budget issues.

    My little humble opinion here regarding the medicaid issues…..increase the tax on smoking and apply that money directly to the medicaid and other much needed health care programs.

    • Tammy,

      Great name, btw. :D

      I don’t think a child should be denied benefits because of nationality either.

      I think all children should have the right to health care.

      That tax on smoking works for me!

      However, to take life saving benefits away from my child, who has no place else to turn, no border to cross, in order to give these benefits to one whose parents knew in advance of the 5 year wait, makes me more than a wee bit stabby.

      I think basically we both agree. Jordan School District announced some astonishing cuts. I have no doubts that other districts will also be riffing employees.

      I did read in today’s headlines that there was $50,000,000 more in the budget than at first thought. Wonder where it will go?

  10. I will never understand why, time and time again, our government finds it necessary and ok to give more and more to those who are not even here legally. What about the people who are here, hard working Americans, paying taxes, doing the “right” thing? I guess that doesn’t pay off. And I’m tired of people taking advantage of the system while others get screwed. I can’t imagine how frustrating this is for you.


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