Editor’s note: Voces de Medicaid is a community storytelling experience presented by El Centro. In January 2018, El Centro joined Community Catalyst in their Community Voices of Medicaid initiative, which focuses on informing and educating the community about Medicaid, while raising the voices of people impacted by the program. The following is an excerpt from El Centro’s book. Republished with permission.
Dedicated to the 150,000 families and people in Kansas who would be eligible for Medicaid if the state would expand the program’s eligibility. Do not lose hope, health is a right for everyone.
Doña Olivia | Olathe, Kansas
When my grandson came to live with me, he was 13 years old and did not have medical insurance until one day in the clinic someone asked if he wanted it. They could help us apply, and they were sure he would qualify. For me it was a relief because my grandson has autism and has many appointments with his pediatrician and different specialists that help him in his development in school and his daily life with the family.
From his regular appointments, to vaccines, dental visits, and surgeries, I can see the difference between having Medicaid and not having it. I have another grandson that lives with us and does not qualify for this benefit and at times it is more complicated to get an appointment and the waiting times at the community clinics are very long. If I want to take him to the dentist that is something I have to pay out of my out pocket and in reality, medical care without Medicaid or insurance is more expensive. It’s not the same attention and since there are a lot of uninsured people it can take a month or two for an appointment and I don’t even want to think about what would happen if I had to take him to the ER.
Without Medicaid, I would not be able to afford all of my grandson’s care and would have to decide between my rent and food or his doctor’s appointments. That would make things hard since my husband and I only have our retirement as our source of income.