Medicaid – the safety next for millions of Americans – continues to be under attack.
Whether debating healthcare legislation, tax reform or deficit reduction, lawmakers see Medicaid as some magic source of ready-made cost savings. Many don’t seem to understand how intertwined Medicaid is within society; a lifeline for so many families – like mine.
I am the parent of a 37-year-old son, Jason, with a rare uncontrollable seizure disorder since birth. My husband and I are in our 70s. We have carefully prepared for our financial future. But all our efforts would do little to cover the enormous cost of Jason’s medical needs for the rest of his life.
Jason requires a wheelchair and has very limited use of his hands. He cannot use a computer or feed himself, and he needs full time care and multiple medications and medical devices. He lives in a wonderful residential facility in West Orange, with a professional and caring staff he loves.
I am worried about what will happen if Jason outlives us or we become disabled. Who will protect him if we can’t count on the Medicaid funding that keeps him alive and thriving?
I’m also troubled over whether my husband and I will have the care we will need down the road. We are in the process of moving to a senior living community in Pompton Plains to be nearer to Jason. My parents lived to 88 and 92, and Medicaid allowed them to stay in their nursing home when they outlived their savings.
Medicaid provides safety and quality of life for the most vulnerable among us - the elderly and those with disabilities. None of us knows when we will need this help, through no fault of our own.
I implore our elected officials to make the case for stable Medicaid funding for those who can’t.