By Alondra Ramirez, 2022 Down Home Fellow
I have a personal story to share that underscores my plea for Representative Larry Strickland to please do everything in his power to expand Medicaid immediately.
I almost lost my mom a few years ago and am writing to say that healthcare should be available to everyone, no matter their economic status.
Passing Medicaid expansion will allow 600,000 North Carolinians access to health insurance and services. Today, my mother is able to afford health insurance, but at one point, she could not.
I was a child coming home from first grade. I had a project due the next day and I didn’t have the crayons to complete it. I remember begging and crying to my mom to buy me crayons while she was on a phone call. The next thing I know, she dropped to the ground. She didn’t even attempt to catch herself. My brother called 911 and the ambulance came. It turned out that she had suffered a heart attack.
As the ambulance took her away, I was filled with guilt and grief; I thought I must have hurt my mother. Obviously, that was not the case; my mother had been experiencing stress about our financial state. Her ambulance ride and emergency care only made my family’s financial woes worse.
We went into debt because my mother was one of the 600,000 people who didn’t qualify for Medicaid and couldn’t afford health insurance. She had no other choice but to let it go to collection.
We were lucky she survived her heart attack. If she had health insurance at that time, she would have had regular check-ups and been made aware of her health condition. Now that she can afford health insurance, mom has a physician and is able to respond to any changes in her health.
This is what I want for my 600,000 North Carolinian neighbors, to have access to healthcare so that they too can share life with their children and loved ones.
Please do not delay expanding Medicaid, Representative Strickland. There are many more children like me out there who cannot wait, either.