The Power of Medicaid (by Jeneva and Robert Stone)
The following is a transcript of remarks given at a Press Conference in the U.S. Capitol, hosted by members of the Senate and Protect Our Care, at the closing of Medicaid Awareness Month on April 30, 2019
I’m Jeneva Stone from Maryland and I’m a member of Little Lobbyists, a group of families advocating for children with complex medical needs and disabilities.
This is my son Rob. Rob recently graduated from high school, and he has plans to be an artist, writer and disability advocate. Rob enjoys baseball, movies and museums. He’s a huge Game of Thrones fan.
Rob also has a rare disease, and he’s one of 35 million Americans for whom Medicaid has been a lifesaver. Before Rob qualified for a Medicaid waiver in 2012, our family had been through 6 different private insurers—trying to avoid hitting annual and lifetime coverage caps—and over a quarter of a million dollars in out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Unlike private insurance, Medicaid is designed for people with disabilities: It provides all 30 boxes of medical supplies Rob needs every month. His specialty medications are covered. His therapies are covered.
I don’t have to fight with an insurance company to get Rob the customized wheelchair he needs, which retails for $8,000 to $10,000 without Medicaid.
Why does Rob need that wheelchair? So he can get out in his community, just like his peers—going to Orioles games and the movies, and even having a beer now that he’s old enough. Rob’s Medicaid coverage provides home nursing and personal attendants so he can live in his community, where he belongs, with supportive neighbors and friends.
Because of Medicaid, Rob can live at home with his family, rather than in a nursing home where no 21-year-old young man belongs. Rob’s sister will be home from college next month, and he’s looking forward to hanging out with her again.
Before Medicaid, medical bankruptcy was a real possibility for my family: Nothing prepares you for the staggering costs of raising a child with complex medical needs. Savings, family money, even selling your home cannot cover two decades worth of multiple specialists, medical equipment, prescriptions, hospitalizations and surgeries, therapies, home modifications, and home nursing.
Survive and thrive. That’s what Medicaid gave Rob, and that’s what Little Lobbyists wants for all children with complex medical needs and disabilities—the chance to grow up to be healthy adults. Rob, now 21 years old, is living proof of the power of Medicaid.