Monday, August 4, 2014

Medicaid Expansion -- Denied (An Open Letter)

To our nation's lawmakers,

My name is Danielle Nicole, I am 27 years old and a concerned Missouri constituent. Over the course of my lifetime I have been ill and dealing with the intimidating, faceless entity that is "healthcare insurance" for thirteen years, specifically eleven years of it I have been handling it very much alone.

Because for those eleven years I have been on Missouri MC Plus, or as is now called MoHealthNet children's waiver. This puts me in an awkward position, as I am 27 years of age and receiving children's services. This very much limits my coverage as it stands: many age appropriate physicians will not see me, and all attempts to ameliorate these problems by me to the DFS office have been fruitless.

What's more astounding, and quite frankly cruel, is that in Missouri had an opportunity -- for the first time in three years -- to undo Jay Nixon's damage from the thousands of dollars cut from the Medicaid program by offering an expansion. One of the most exciting? Adding a benefit for dental care for adults. That's right. Medicaid recipients over the age of 19 have absolutely NO ACCESS to dental care, and haven't for the last twenty years at least. What also would have been included were less steep spend downs and a wider variety of therapies covered, such as alternative therapies for pain including (drug free) biofeedback among others.

In my lifetime, I have lost many friends due to various illnesses that ravaged their bodies and eventually stole their lives. The truly ugly thing about these losses? Not a single one of these persons were terminally ill. Rather, they were victims of a broken system: insurance refusal to pay for much needed extended hospitalizations for acute renal failure (I was inpatient with a thirteen year old boy who died because he couldn't access dialysis in wouldn't cover), electrolyte imbalance (refusal to admit a friend who I roomed with frequently in hospital. This girl died of cardiac arrest because -- while key labs were critically low -- her Medicaid wouldn't allow for IV replacement of these electrolytes. Wasn't seen as "serious enough"), and another friend who wasn't chronically sick, but still needed health insurance (for which he didn't qualify for). '

His life ended because the system willfully withheld care.

On a personal level, I have also had many issues with insurance not covering needed services. But what hits me more personally is knowing people that I know have died because our congress -- our governor -- would rather with hold those precious dollars for other programs that suit their own interests.

Most offensively? Not a single senator responded to my emails concerning my experiences as an advocate and the possible money saved in the long run by making care more comprehensive. How many lives could be spared just by making medical intervention more accessible.

Here is my request -- my plea:

Please stop attempting to play God with the lives of other human beings. Your special interests and your choices of where to allocate government dollars is making you an accomplice to manslaughter of someone's father, someone's sister, someone's hero.

You are -- essentially -- telling someone's mother that their child's life is not worth saving. You are also, right now, challenging an advocate (me) to up do even more and branching out, joining forces with other like minded individuals to stand up and declare that THIS IS WRONG. To educate anyone who will listen and encourage anyone that is so moved to take part in a movement to stop further tragedies that will come of your hand.

There are victims. There are survivors.
There are real life monsters.

And then there are warriors.

My prayer is that you think on these things. I challenge you to imagine for one second that you were in any of our positions...because you could be in as little as a sundown. One careless step. Or even a lost job.

All human lives are valuable, regardless of poor choices or socioeconomic background. Please, I implore you to stop putting price tags on our rights.

God Bless,

Danielle Nicole.

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