The Arc Mourns the Death of Katie Beckett

Mary Katherine “Katie” Beckett, 34, died on May 18, 2012 at the same hospital in Cedar Rapids, IA, where she spent 3 years of her life. Severely disabled by encephalitis at age 6 months, Katie was unable to breathe on her own and needed some breathing assistance throughout her life. However, she had exceeded the $1 million benefit limit on her parents’ health insurance and could only be covered by Medicaid as long as she remained in the hospital. Through untiring advocacy by her mother Julie Beckett and the support of then-Representative Tom Tauke, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Charles Grassley, and ultimately President Ronald Reagan, a new Medicaid waiver was created to allow Katie and children like her to be served at home. Through various Medicaid provisions referred to as the Katie Beckett waiver, many individuals have enjoyed the benefits of services at home rather than in institutions. While The Arc mourns her death, we celebrate Katie’s life and the contributions that she and her family have made to so many.

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