During the Shutdown, House Speaker Boehner held daily press conferences in which he voiced the demands of the Republican Party that government entitlement programs be cut back. As a disability attorney, I often help Americans gain access to an entitlement program – Medicaid.
Medicaid has become an especially despicable entitlement program to Republicans. It is “socialized” medicine. However, I believe Medicaid should be expanded, not cut back, and here is one reason why.
Client B is 23 years old. She had the misfortune of being born with a genetic defect known as Neurofibromatosis Type 2. This disorder is characterized by the growth of noncancerous tumors along the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Complications of tumor growth include severe pain in the head, deafness, weakness in the arms and legs, fluid buildup in the brain, and seizures.
By the age of 15 Client B had several brain and spinal cord tumors that were causing life threatening complications. Because she was a minor and her family was poor, Medicaid paid for the brain surgery necessary to save her life.
Let me state what the Republicans won’t – millions of the beneficiaries of government entitlement programs are children.
The surgery paid for by Medicaid saved Client B’s life. She recovered sufficiently to enter the work force at 18 and become a productive, tax paying citizen. Unfortunately, when Client B became an adult she lost her Medicaid and became one of the millions of uninsured.
When I first met Client B she had not seen a doctor for more than 2 years because she did not have health insurance. Her tumors had continued to grow and it was obvious she needed immediate medical treatment.
Client B applied for Medicaid for the indigent disabled and was approved on appeal. She will be having more brain surgery in the near future. But for this government entitlement program, the only option for Client B is to suffer and die.
In many ancient cultures, babies who were born defective were considered a burden on the community, and killed. I contend that government entitlement programs show that we as humans have come a long way. Entitlement programs like Medicaid demonstrate that we value human life, and that we as a society will not turn our back on our neighbors in need.