I Know How Much Healthcare Access Means.

Written by Janine Colon, a member of Down Home Alamance who lives in Burlington, NC.

After joining a Down Home advocacy training and hearing how members are mobilizing to make powerful change and impact porticoes that matter to me and mine, I knew I had to do something. And I had to say something about the fact that North Carolina is one of only a dozen states that does not have an expanded
Medicaid program.

That’s shameful. As a born and bred New Yorker, and more recently a newcomer from Massachusetts, I could not believe that the state I now call my home whether 600,000 of her residents have access to healthcare.

I know how much healthcare access means. I have have cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. I know what it’s like to have a chronic disability. And I have always had the benefit of Medicaid and Medicare. If I had not had Medicaid in 2018, I am not sure I would have been able to access the RNS brain surgery, necessary to control 75% to 80% of my seizures.

If I had not had the benefit of Medicaid and Medicare, I don’t know if I would have survived the surgery complications, with a loss of blood so significant that landed me in critical care and rehabilitation for forty days. I couldn’t talk, walk, or hold anything.

Janine Colon lives in Alamance County, North Carolina.

Can you imagine already being disabled and coming out worse than when you went into surgery? Can you imagine not knowing if you could get the care to get back your life?

Because of my upbringing, the fighter in me was not ready to give up and I recovered because of excellent medical insurance and doctors who weren’t ready to throw in the towel.

I recovered because I knew what I needed. I was in graduate studies at Purdue Global University working on my BA in Health and Human Services and Family Administration and I was in college while all of this was going on. I was able to still do my classes online while I was in rehabilitating from my surgery. I could live my life because I didn’t have to worry about medical insurance and where the money was coming from; I knew I was being taken care of.

I am very worried about those in our community who are struggling to access healthcare, and Medicaid expansion will ensure 600,000 working family members like me will have a chance to be healthy, and contribute to our community.

COVID taught us one thing; we are all subject to illnesses and we depend on one another to serve and be part of a strong Alamance County community. I want to work with Alamance Down Home members and staff to make sure we can live the life we dream of living, and ensure sure that our NC health policies serve all of us, especially in those times when we need the most help