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Suzanne Garwood's picture

Good afternoon. My name is Suzanne Garwood and I live in Arlington, Virginia. I am a dedicated MomsRising member because the health care this organization is working to protect matters deeply to my family.

My husband and I have two children with Down’s syndrome – a 14-year-old son and a 12 year-old daughter. A Medicaid waiver allows us to live as a family, to care for and raise our children at home, rather than institutionalizing them. Our daughter is nonverbal. Neither of my children will ever be able to live alone and both will need constant care for the rest of their lives.

We are so fortunate to have a Medicaid waiver that pays for in-home services and helps us afford a caretaker for our kids during the day, which allows us to continue to work and contribute to the economy. We simply could not pay for the services our children need without it. Either my husband or I would have to retire early to care for them if our Medicaid services were cut. If one of us had to leave the workforce to care for our children, the financial strain on our family would be enormous. It would devastate our retirement savings, and keep in mind we’re saving for four people, not just the two of us.

Right now in Virginia, there is a ten-year waiting list for the kind of waiver we have. If Congress passes Graham-Cassidy, and Medicaid is gutted and block-granted, the services we rely on will surely be cut or lost altogether. It would have a dramatic effect on my kids and their ability to live in their home and their community for the rest of our lives.

Nothing is more important to my family’s future than to prevent Congress from cutting, gutting and turning Medicaid into block grants. We need to ensure that people with disabilities continue to have access to the services they need. My kids don’t have a voice of their own. I am here to speak for them, and to urge Congress to remember that they matter, they are an important part of the community – and their futures are on the line. Thank you.


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