WASHINGTON Hundreds of thousands of middle-income families with disabled children would be eligible for Medicaid under legislation that passed the Senate yesterday.
The bill is designed to address the plight faced by parents who have to turn down jobs or raises and, in some cases, give up custody of their disabled children to continue receiving governmentpaid health care.
Parents would be able to buy into Medicaid while continuing to work and earn an annual income of up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level, about $47,000 for a family of four in 2004. The changes would cost $7 billion over 10 years, budget analysts say.
The problem is, some families fall through the cracks. Many parents of disabled children have to drop out of the workforce or keep themselves in a low-paying job just to remain eligible for Medicaid," said Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican and coauthor of the bill with Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Once and for all, we can remove the barriers to quality and affordable health care for children with disabilities, Kennedy said, barriers that prevent families from staying together and staying employed, and prevent their children from growing up to live independent lives and become fully contributing members of their communities.