Tel.: (860) 354-3590
P.O. Box 704, Southbury, CT 06488
Cell: (203) 206-4282
Fax: (860) 354-9360
Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson, Executive Director
Bulletin #69 The Health Care Bill 08/03/09
Did you know? One of the proposals for health care revision may lead to increased accusations of parental abuse and neglect regarding the upbringing and education of your child.
The House version of the health care legislation, H.R. 3200, entitled, “America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009”, sponsored by Congressmen John Dingell, Henry Waxman, and Charlie Rangel, among others, contains many provisions that are worthy of questioning, not the least of which is Section 440. That section is entitled, “Home Visitation Programs for Families with Young Children and Families Expecting Children.”
The title, itself, gives one pause for concern.
This section of the bill authorizes the provision of federal money to be given to the states on the condition that the states will develop certain programs that include “voluntary home visits” by government officials.
The visits by government officials will be through the implementation of programs that, among other things:
“ adhere to clear evidence-based models of home visitation that have demonstrated positive effects on important program-determined child and parenting outcomes, such as reducing abuse and neglect and improving child health and development”;
“establish appropriate linkages and referrals to other community resources and supports”;
“monitor fidelity of program implementation to ensure that services are delivered according to the specified model”;
“provide parents with-- knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive, language, social, emotional, and motor domains…
· knowledge of realistic expectations of age-appropriate child behaviors;
· knowledge of health and wellness issues for children and parents;
· modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices; and
· skills to recognize and seek help for issues related to health, developmental delays, and social, emotional, and behavioral skills…”
Those are all laudable sounding goals. But is that the job of the government, or the parents?
What happens if the government worker comes into your home, sees what you are doing as a parent, doesn’t like it, tells you to change it, and you disagree with the opinion of the government worker?
There is a provision in the bill for the information gathered during the home visits to be shared with other government agencies.
There is another provision in the bill for the state to report back to the federal government on what was learned during the home visits, including information about the people who were visited.
Who believes that information learned during the home visits will not be shared with child protective services agencies, especially when one of the goals of the program is to reduce child abuse and neglect?
Who believes that a parent’s right to educate their child at home will not be questioned by government workers who may have a vested interest in seeing the public, i.e., government, school system continue to thrive?
In case you think that this is some insignificant section of a very large bill, and won’t really matter, consider this - the government will be expending on only this one small section of the bill the following amounts:
`(1) $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2010;
`(2) $100,000,000 for fiscal year 2011;
`(3) $150,000,000 for fiscal year 2012;
`(4) $200,000,000 for fiscal year 2013; and
`(5) $250,000,000 for fiscal year 2014.
Apparently, the program is designed to expand in the future. How many homes will be visited ultimately?
Don’t take our word for it. Go read the bill for yourself. Your legislators certainly won’t be reading it before they vote on it. Somebody should read it, after all. Parents need to know what their government is proposing, how the government very soon, could be inside your home. If states accept this money, they will be obliged to conduct the “voluntary” home visits. Do you want government officials coming to your home, telling you how to parent, and reporting what you do to other state and federal agencies? If not, you better act now before this bill becomes law, and before your state officials decide it’s a great way to get more money from the feds. For the sake of your children and your grandchildren, NHELD strongly suggests you read this bill, and any others being proposed, then act to safeguard your rights. The text of the bill can be found at http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text
Attorney Deborah Stevenson - Executive Director of National Home Education Legal Defense – email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Aron - Director of Research, NHELD – email@example.com