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Senate GOP effort to shield disabled from Medicaid changes would leave many kids on the outside

Aidan Long is a 13-year-old in Kalispell, Mont., who has suffered seizures nearly every day for a decade. These episodes defy medical cure, and some of them continue for weeks, requiring Aidan to be airlifted to children’s hospitals in Denver or Seattle.

The medical bills, covered in large part by Medicaid, have been enormous. “I kept track of these until about 2 million bucks,” recalls his father, Ben Long, “and then I said I can’t spend any more time worrying about it.”

But Senate Republicans’ health-care bill could radically affect the Medicaid coverage on which Aidan and several million children with special medical needs depend. It would exempt some young beneficiaries from changes that would turn Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement for poor Americans into a program most likely bound by per-person spending caps. The highly restrictive exclusion would apply to only a minority of children.


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