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[R67] Helping Hoosiers with Disabilities
Start Date: 5/23/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 5/23/2014
Entry Description

This week, while reading the morning news, I came across an incredible story about Parker Mantell. Parker recently graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington and gave the commencement speech for his graduating class, which literally became famous overnight. Earning a degree in political science, he spoke to the audience about his various internships during college, which included answering calls for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, giving Capitol tours for Senator Mark Rubio and working in the office of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. 

This is an impressive résumé for any college graduate; however, what was most intriguing about his speech was that he lives with a disability; he stutters. If you haven’t seen his speech, I strongly encourage you to look it up, but without giving too much away, Parker credits IU with giving him confidence and expelling any doubts in his ability to succeed, despite his disability.

I was beaming with pride that such a story had come out of Indiana, and Parker is clearly on a path to a career in public service. It is evident after watching this video and as a public servant myself, that we need to continue to help Hoosiers with disabilities and encourage them to follow their dreams. Working towards this goal, we passed several new laws this session that benefit Hoosiers with disabilities.  

I was proud to support Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 397 which deals specifically with disabled children. Under current Indiana law, if a disabled child lives in a nursing facility and their condition is untreatable, they do not qualify for wheelchair reimbursement from the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning. 

Upon reviewing this policy, the Legislature realized that because of their disability, the state was essentially holding these children back and denying them equipment that they needed. However, as a result of SEA 397, which will go into effect July 1, Medicaid will be required to reimburse a nursing facility for a specialized or nonstandard wheelchair that is purchased for one of these children. 

What you may not know is that my family has a personal connection to this. My granddaughter Megan was born with cerebral palsy. For the eight wonderful years that we had with her, she was in a wheelchair. These specialized wheelchairs can cost up to $4,000 or $5,000 each, but for the state, this is a small investment to help children with disabilities to obtain a higher quality of life.

This legislation was just one example of how we helped Hoosiers with disabilities this year, and I will continue to look for new ways we can support them moving forward. Actually, helping Hoosiers is the very reason I wanted to become a lawmaker in the first place and the single-most rewarding aspect of my job. 

Ultimately, the true focus here is on Parker and the countless other Hoosiers who live with a disability and do not allow that to limit their potential. I applaud Parker on his many achievements, and I have no doubt that he will accomplish great things in the future. I encourage everyone reading this to never let anything limit their potential and remember that through hard work and determination, anything is possible. Parker believed this, and we can all learn from his story.

-30-
Contact Information:
Name: Courtney Scott
Phone: 317-234-9006
Email: Courtney.Scott@iga.in.gov
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Attachments For This Entry:
    > Helping Hoosiers with Disabilities
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • After Hours
  • Alerts and Notification
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Family & Health
  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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