Friday, July 1, 2011
Today the Bomb Falls, Finally
What a sharp contrast between the two e-mails sitting in my Inbox.
One, in great detail, outlines all of the changes that will be taking place at Bennett's school, starting today, July 1, because of HB 153, the new Budget Bill passed by the government of Ohio that dramatically slashed benefits for the disabled, the elderly, you name it.
It was gut-wrenching to read.
So many kids who will be losing services partially or in some cases entirely, many with no place to turn, many with no answers at all about what to do next.
Somewhere between 40-60, I'm not sure of the exact number. That's how many employees of Bennett's school alone, now without jobs, just like that. How many more across the state? I know how that feels. I have been unemployed now since December of 2009, making ends meet any way that I can.
Families in total chaos. Families whose lives are chaotic already. I know how that feels too. I really am in a state of complete devastation whenever I think about some of those kids and what they are losing.
What is even more disturbing is that I haven't seen a THING about this on our local news, in the newspaper. NOTHING. It's like it doesn't even exist.
And then the other e-mail, from the Governor of Ohio, the Dark Lord Emperor John Kasich himself, nearly breaking his own arm as he pats himself on the back, urging Ohioans to celebrate alongside him because of this monumental legislation that helps to balance our budget and cuts our taxes.
THANKS BRO!!! Just what I needed! You know what Kasich?
Go fuck yourself.
I can only imagine what you are probably doing tonight, maybe you actually ARE celebrating, having some drinks with the rest of your tight-assed, holier-than-thou wealthy Republican friends, all blowing each other's Popsicles and thinking what masters of ingenuity you are. You've only postponed the problems, you've only set the dominoes up to fall that much harder.
Any idiot, and believe me, when it comes to politics, I am the King of All Idiots, can see that.
This is not good for Ohio, and it isn't good for our nation, because as I understand it we are not the only state that is doing this exact same thing. When I was in Arkansas visiting my Mother I saw a piece on their local news about much the same short-term, completely short-sighted re-structuring going on in their state.
It's going to get worse, too, as Republicans have ZERO to gain by trying to stimulate the national economy now...why bother? They NEED it to continue to stagnate and rot at least until November 2012.
Politics is such horseshit. And the people who suffer are always the people who have no voice. In other words...you and me, the average person, We Who Are Without Deep Pockets. Check out this article sometime...it is a fascinating read, and it really does kind of sum it up.
As much as I am blasting Republicans (and I am a REGISTERED Republican by the way, they just happen to be the scumbags right now, but that role ALWAYS changes), it is not just a Republican problem, or a Democrat problem.
It isn't a problem for the rich or for the poor, either...it is a problem for every man, woman and child who calls the red, white and blue THEIR colors. And if we don't get our collective shit together, and soon...well, I figure both my kids are going to have to, at some point in their lives, learn how to speak a new language.
As far as Bennett is concerned, the fact of the matter is...he dodged most of the bullets that were aimed at him...for now. His Medicaid hours were cut, don't get me wrong...he went from receiving approximately 1320 hours of ABA therapy annually to 104 hours annually. But, the school can use the Autism Scholarship Program money that we were not tapping into as a fallback position (glad we applied for it when we did) and still maintain, some of the time, his 1:1 teacher/student therapy.
But because of the restrictions to the ASP and the Medicaid restrictions and so forth and the employee cuts, there will be times when he will not receive 1:1 anything, as his BT might have to assist other students and they will just have to lump him in with a group. That day Bennett just won't get any real 'therapy' that helps him along (because of the nature of the severity of his delays), but he will be looked after.
The state has hired an 'outside vendor', as yet unspecified, as yet unexplained, as yet unknown, that can review any case and determine if any person can exceed that 104 hour allotment. Now, as I have said before, this is sort of the way it works now.
Sort of. It is just that now that review is done by Bennett's Psychiatrist, not by a third party. And other evaluations are done by his Neurologist, or his Epileptologist, and so on. Then prescriptions are written for needed therapy services. All of those evals our PRIVATE insurance pays for, by the way. The Medicaid stuff only kicks in on stuff which private insurance does not cover when it comes to the medical side of things.
He did lose 2/3 of his Speech Therapy and all of his Occupational Therapy. That was a pretty big loss for him. For a kid that still can't really talk or communicate that much? It was a heart-breaker for sure.
Though still, even upon finding out about all of this, by phone and also in that e-mail I mentioned, and knowing that he still kept a LOT of what he has, I found I could neither feel celebratory for what he kept, and I could not really weep for what he lost.
My mind just kept going back and forth between three things...to the height of the mountain I feel is in our life and how it feels like it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and I can't seem to stop it...to all the people who got fucked today, from all the kids, to all the people who lost their livelihoods...because it isn't just that one school, it's a LOT of schools, and the transportation people who DROVE those kids to those schools, and the people who worked non-specialty jobs, and on and on...
And of course, to the people who fucked those people. How they sent me an e-mail saying how proud I need to be of them. If they had any idea of the intensity of my feelings. My disgust...how mush I detest them in every way. My lack of respect towards them for how they have warped and how they have twisted our political system. My own self-loathing for having voted for them and thinking that it actually MATTERED to do so in the first place.
Look...I'm not denying that in many instances, Medicaid and Medicare or ANY government spending is out of control and needs checks and balances, that's why you need controlled systems. I just do not think this particular transition has been handled correctly and interruption in services for kids with these kinds of disabilities can be DEVASTATING to their treatments.
Consistency is key, and these a-holes in the capitol building should have fucking known better. They should have had a softer transition than a sharp cut-off for the services for these kids. THERE CURRENTLY IS NO REVIEW IN PLACE, and getting answers as to when there will be? Well, many have tried and failed.
And the icing on the cake? Make sure you aren't one of the ones who tried too hard. Or spoke out too loudly. For advocacy OR for answers. Because so far, in this bass-ackwards state? Those that have tried the hardest, spoken the loudest, made the most noise? They have been bitch-slapped the hardest by the government.
Talk about ego. With a Capital 'Ewwwwww'.
I'm just going by what I've heard. Rumor only. I have no fact to back this up of course, but word on the street is that allegedly some of the groups that were hit the hardest were the ones that had the audacity, the AUDACITY, to advocate the most strenuously and even to run ads on TV. How DARE they question the royalty of the government and its bitches and the oh so very wise Kasich administration?
Representative government my ass.
I think it goes without saying that our founding fathers would be ashamed if they saw where our country was headed...but I said it anyway.
When I heard that? I wanted to scream. It is no wonder that near the tail end of all of this we got word from the school, just before we were to begin sending some of our letters and stories to media, to pull back on some of our efforts a bit.
It is probably the ONLY reason why Bennett's school is actually still operating.
Makes you almost wanna puke a little, doesn't it?