• 73°

Brewton pediatrician testifies before U.S. House committee

By By Kerry Whipple-Bean
Just two weeks ago, Brewton pediatrician Dr. Marsha Raulerson diagnosed a liver tumor in a four-month-old baby.
The child will be receiving care thanks to Medicaid services — services whose funding could be cut under regulations proposed by the Bush administration, Raulerson testified Thursday before a U.S. House committee that is considering a bill to block the cuts.
Raulerson, who has practiced pediatrics for 27 years in Brewton, spoke on behalf of the 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics, which is seeking passage of a bipartisan House bill to protect Medicaid funding.
The Bush administration has proposed regulations would cut Medicaid funding to the states by an estimated $50 billion over the next five years. According to AAP, services that could be cut include:
Raulerson has seen the need for Medicaid benefits first-hand; her practice is made up of 70 percent Medicaid patients. She told the House committee members about a young patient who had been burned years ago in an accidental kitchen fire in her home.
Raulerson credited Medicaid and its case management services with the girl’s successful recovery.
Just weeks ago, Raulerson and her staff discovered the tumor in the liver of the four-month-old baby.
Raulerson also told the House committee about other programs that have benefited from Medicaid dollars, such as foster care case management, psychiatric services, special-needs services through public schools and rehabilitative services.
She urged the House committee members to consider the Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act.
The House bill is sponsored by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., and Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa.
In December 2007, Congress enacted a moratorium on some of the regulations, but they are set to expire before July. The Dingell-Murphy bill would prevent the implementation of the regulations for one year, which the congressmen said would allow time to better consider the effects of the cuts.
Other groups opposed to the cuts include the National Governors Association, the National Association of State Medicaid Directors and the American Public Human Services Association.