Medicaid and my micro-preemie son
My youngest son, Isaac, was born at 28 weeks. That's 12 weeks early. He spent the first 8 weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit. Very expensive.
As a micro-preemie weighing only 2 pounds 5 ounces, Isaac was at risk for many, many life-threatening challenges. We were lucky, though, that he seemed to dodge bullet after bullet.
However, when he was five-and-half-months old, he caught a cold and abruptly stopped breathing. After receiving chest compressions and being intubated in the pediatric intensive care unit, it was determined that he had a malformation of the trachea. Isaac received a tracheostomy (a tube in his neck so that he could breathe) when he was six months old.
After a month in the hospital, we were allowed to take him home, but only with private duty nursing and enough medical equipment to turn our home into a mini-hospital. Last August, he underwent surgery to reconstruct his trachea. As a result, he is a fairly typical two year old but the permanent damage to his lungs means that he often requires oxygen and close monitoring at the home or hospital.
Our insurance - along with Medicaid (through a waiver program for medically fragile children) - allowed us to have Isaac at home, with nursing care. This allowed my husband and I to work, to pay taxes, to be productive members of society.
My son is a two-year-old who came into this world fighting, and who deserves the same healthy future as every other child. Congressional proposals to cut Medicaid are pennywise, pound foolish. Uninsured children are 5 times more likely than insured children to use the emergency room as a regular source of care. (See this fact sheet from First Focus.
Cutting Medicaid will not save money in the long-term but, instead, do serious damage to families, their financial capabilities, and their children's health and future livelihoods.
Isaac has to fight to breathe; he should not also have to fight to get the medical treatment he needs.