Special needs advocacy groups concerned over healthcare cuts

Down By the Border, a special needs advocacy group is keeping a close eye on the state's budget, and they said their concerned that some of the cuts could directly hurt those most in need.

Sergio Zarate is a man with a dream.

He dreams that children with disabilities will have a place to play.

"It's kind of hard just seeing him sitting here and watching other kids playing around," said Sandra Pacheco who has a son with Cerebral Palsy.

Zarate is co-founder of Down by the Border, a special needs advocacy group for children with disabilities.

He's advocated for these children to have wheelchair accessible playgrounds, but now he's concerned with their healthcare.

"When you have a child with disability, a lot of times there's speech therapy, there's physical therapy that they have helps them along so that they can speak better walk better live in this world that is a little different to them," said Zarate.

Now with health care cuts looming through the state, Zarate worries that services for special needs kids will get slashed.

State Representative Armando Martinez said anybody under the Medicaid program especially those with disabilities who rely on the program for physical therapy or any other kind of assistance would be greatly affected by the cuts.

"It's a strain on families of the middle class of the working families who cannot afford the premiums for insurance and qualify for that assistance through Medicaid," said Martinez.

Representative Martinez is on the appropriations committee, and he said he's fighting to keep healthcare off the chopping block.

"What we're going to try and do is play as much defense and try and stop them from cutting these significant areas that are important to us and to the Valley," said Representative Martinez.

But Zarate said legislators also need to hear from those who would be directly affected.

His group along with others throughout the state plan to make a trip to Austin and tell their story.

Zarate said he's already made three trips to Austin and will be there frequently to help other groups he encounters make their voices heard.