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Lawmakers Urged to Consider Children While Debating Health Care

Advocates hope GOP lawmakers think about who will be impacted before making another attempt to gut the Affordable Care Act. (Victoria Jordan)
Advocates hope GOP lawmakers think about who will be impacted before making another attempt to gut the Affordable Care Act. (Victoria Jordan)
July 31, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Many people who would be hit hardest by cuts to Medicaid worry that their children will suffer if the Affordable Care Act is repealed as promised by President Donald Trump and Republican Party lawmakers, even though that plan failed last week.

Lisa Hoffman Wojcik, development and communications manager at Open Door Health Center in Mankato, is a mother of a son with specialized needs. She says lawmakers who are making decisions about people's health care might not realize how much of an emotional and financial impact an unexpected illness has on American families.

Her son is a teenager, and she worries that he won't be able to afford the medical care he needs once he's older and no longer covered by the family insurance plan.

"He has a number of congenital conditions that he will need care for his entire life,” she states. “At this moment, other than his primary pediatrician, we see six specialists on a regular basis at least once or twice a year."

Trump has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which Hoffman Wojcik says provides needed benefits for her family.

Lee Ann Erickson is executive director of the ARC Minnesota Southwest, and also the mother of two children with disabilities. She says she and her husband had insurance when her first son Ted was diagnosed with developmental disabilities, but then got kicked off the plan.

"We got terminated just like that for no good reason,” she relates. “And we have always had more difficulty finding insurance that would cover. "

Erickson says provisions in the Affordable Care Act wouldn't have allowed her son to be denied insurance based on his diagnosis.

Hoffman Wojcik says many people believe those who rely on Medicaid are not being productive members of society.

"For many of our patients, they're working and they're working sometimes multiple jobs,” she states. “They just don't have access to benefits.

“You get into this situation where it's difficult for them to even get off of work to have an appointment during their work schedule."

Sunday marked the 52nd year that Medicaid has been around.


Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MN