A Senate committee amended a health care budget bill to allow families caring for the severely disabled to be able to get more than the capped amount of personal care approved by lawmakers this spring.
Democratic Sen. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton was the force behind the amendment, which would help 1,000 families who would otherwise have to place their loved ones into institutions.
Deutch became interested in the issue on an airplane ride from Washington, D.C. where he was seated next to a woman who told him of her plight.
She and her husband, whom Deutch did not name, currently receive 11.5 hours per day to care for their severely disabled daughter. Under the new plan, the family would receive just more than half of the hours of assistance they currently use.
She told me, “Senator, my daughter has two options. She can go into an institution, or she can die,” Deutch recalled.
Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee member Don Gaetz, a Republican, commended Deutch for the amendment, which he said he is hopeful the House will also agree to.
When Q told Gov. Charlie Crist the Deutch anecdote, Crist called the freshman lawmaker and congratulated him.
“You are the man. This is what we’re here for,” Crist told him. “Keep up the good work, brother.”