Jessica is weighing a heavy decision: Buy groceries for her family of six or go to the doctor for a worsening foot injury she sustained while lifting her daughter out of her wheelchair.
My name is Jessica and I live in Sandpoint, Idaho. I’ve been married for almost 16 years and my husband is self-employed. We have four beautiful children, one whom was born with disabilities caused by a virus. At eleven year old, Natalia has already undergone ten surgeries, has several implanted devices, and requires 24/7 care. She has cerebral palsy, hearing loss, seizures, weak lungs, and has to be tube fed. Thanks to Medicaid, she receives therapies, has access to doctors and specialists, medical equipment, and personal care services. Without Medicaid, she would not be here with us today.
Idaho’s healthcare policies have left Jessica and her family out in the cold.
I am very grateful to live in a state that does so much to ensure that children grow up healthy. But, children also need healthy parents. There is very little available for adults who also need healthcare. My husband and I are in the coverage gap and therefore go without insurance. I have not had any preventative care appointments in years. Each visit costs over a hundred dollars which means either buying groceries or getting a checkup. I only go to the doctor if it’s an emergency.
Everyone knows how challenging, yet rewarding, it is to raise children. When you have a child with disabilities, it’s a whole new level of care. Natalia can’t run or play like other children. She uses a wheelchair and has to have assistance with everything. I have issues on the right side of my body and worsening pain in my foot sustained from repeatedly lifting my 75 pound daughter. I need treatment and access to specialists, but I cannot afford it. This affects my quality of life and inhibits me from being able to care for my children the way they need.
I fear that without insurance my injuries will worsen, that an illness or emergency will push us into financial ruin, and I will be unable to care for my children. I am also fearful that my daughter will lose her much needed health coverage. I hope Idaho will find a solution to the coverage gap. Not only for our sake, but for our children’s sake. Healthy kids need healthy parents to care for them.
Together, we will advance smart policy solutions to keep Idaho healthy and thriving.
We must act now. There are opportunities to address Idaho’s health coverage crisis and stop harmful federal reforms from moving forward this winter. With your support, we can get a bill passed this legislative session to provide Idahoans like Jessica and her husband affordable health coverage, and we can prevent federal cuts to Medicaid services that ensure the healthy growth and development of our children.
Corporations spend millions on campaigns and lobbying. Kids and families don’t have that kind of power and influence. They have you. They have Idaho Voices for Children. If you make one year-end donation, please join our fight and be the voice that our children need with your support.