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It's Medicaid for me!

My story is pretty standard. I am a single mom - my son's father does not contribute in any way - and my son has been on Medicaid since birth. I am now blessedly receiving Medicaid as well, and was able to go to a doctor for the first time since he was born seven years ago. I spent five years on a waiting list in PA for health coverage, which I finally received, providing primary and emergency care, no dental or vision. We then relocated to VT where I was covered immediately and have access to naturopathy for our primary care, specialists and dental. The dental is limited though, as I discovered when they told me my 30+ year old fillings needed to be replaced, but my insurance won't cover it. But at least it's something.

I am a massage therapist and a yoga instructor. I work as an independent contractor in most situations and am not eligible for health insurance. Since becoming the sole provider and caretaker for my son, I have had to cut my working hours back in order to be present for my child. I limit my work on weekends, which is when the most money can be made, because my child needs a parent and because childcare is difficult to find on weekends. I do not have family nearby to help out.

My gross income hovers around $20,000/year, though for 2010 it was around $16,000. I am the poor and I feel every bit of the crush of the top heavy absurdity of our economic structure. I have yet to hear a good reason why the wealthy and the large corporations should not pay taxes. I pay taxes and I'm barely surviving, while the interest from my student loans compounds at over $100/month, while my car needs new brakes and I have no way to pay for it, while I look at my checkbook this month wondering from where the rent money is coming. I have a college degree, have 11 years of experience in my field and am going under fast. Me and my little boy.

So even with the flaws of Medicaid, I am thankful that it is there. We would have nothing. I recall a few years ago, when I had no insurance, I caught a severe case of conjunctivitis and could barely see. The local doctor's office wanted $200 to diagnose it and $250 for the eye drops. There was no way for me to pay that. Thankfully, a friend had some steroidal eye drops she had used for her dog, and gave me those, which worked. I was disgusted that a working single mother in America could not get help for an easily treatable condition, one that left me unable to work for almost a week, as it is highly contagious and totally unethical for me to be massaging others with an infectious disease, one that could have done long term damage.

On behalf of all the parents who work hard to earn a living and to raise healthy children, the elderly who have contributed throughout their lives and now deserve our care, all those left disabled and unable to get the therapy that could get them back to work, as I frequently see in my line of work, we can not abandon our efforts to make quality healthcare available to everyone. We have already lost so much to the insurance companies and the large corporations. It's horrendously sad and foolish to take away the only resource left for many of us. Let us put the focus on prevention and early care, and take care of children AND their parents. It is far past time to remove the authority for treatment from the insurance companies and give it back to the healthcare professionals, and to demand that corporations and the wealthy pay their taxes the same way everyone else does!!

—JulieVT
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