In My Own Home.

It’s time for me to share a story.  No, this one doesn’t have handsome princes or fairy godmothers waving magic wands.  Although I wish it did.  That would be so much easier.

This is my Medicaid story, and I want to share it in order to put a human face behind the debates.  One of the so many faces that would be negatively affected by the health care bill that the Senate is about to vote on.  I can only pray it doesn’t pass.

I applied for Medicaid in the summer of 1991.  I was still in college and about to be ineligible to be on my dad’s health insurance.  When I applied, I had the same philosophy I did when I was applying for Supplemental Security Income. (SSI) “This is just for now, I told myself, “because it isn’t possible for me to get a part-time job at McDonald’s for extra money like most of my friends were doing.  When I get a full-time job, I will get on a group insurance plan (because I was uninsurable otherwise) and I won’t need this extra help.  I won’t need SSI at that point anymore either.  This situation is completely temporary.  When I get a job, I will pay taxes back into the system that provided me so much support.”19490299_10154722148748806_1219819654_o  That was the plan…

Life got in the way.

I had a surgery that was done incorrectly, and many subsequent surgeries to fix the damage that was done by the first one.  I was in a car wreck on the way home from work one day.  The paratransit driver did not strap my wheelchair into the floor of the bus correctly.  When he hit the brakes, I hit the floor and my wheelchair landed on top of me.  I ended up with a permanent soft tissue injury in my back.  It is difficult for me to sit in my wheelchair for long periods of time.  Along the way, I lost my job.  Then an accident in my kitchen resulted in serious burns to my left leg requiring dressing changes every day for several months.

Medicaid paid for it all.

I have never been lazy or glad that I am “living off the government.”  Believe me, if it were physically possible for me to work 40 hours per week with some overtime thrown in, I would happily do so in a heartbeat.  I would love to support myself without help from anyone.  If only.

I don’t know where I would be without Medicaid coverage.

These days, in addition to some medication and my hospital bills (I had surgery to remove some pesky and painful kidney stones a few weeks back) Medicaid pays the salary of my caregivers and having caregiver support is what enables me to live in my own home and be a part of my community.  Without that support, I could very easily be living in a nursing home.  In that scenario, I could not work at the job I love or have my service dog, Leah, who can only be accurately described as part of my family.

I wasn’t born prematurely on purpose.  Although I embrace my cerebral palsy, it wasn’t my choice.  Nobody should fear living in a nursing home because a disability that has affected them since birth prevents them from driving and putting on their own shoes.

Do you want my story to have a good ending?  Please call your senators and ask them to vote “No” on this health care bill.

I want to live happily ever after.

In my own home.


This entry was posted in Advocacy, America, compassion, Disabilitiy, Government benefits, Government Programs, Helping people with disabilities, inclusion, McDonalds, Medicaid, service dogs and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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