Mother concerned health care bill will financially wipe family out

Hope Robertson and her three children at URS (WDTN PhotoMaytal Levi)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A single mother of three says if the GOP Senate health care bill passes in its current form, her family is in jeopardy.

Hope Robertson has an 11-year-old son, a 9 year-old son, and a 4-year-old daughter with several medical conditions.

Hope’s daughter, Angel suffered a stroke before birth and can’t walk or talk and is prone to seizures due to epilepsy. Angel recently had to have her hips replaced and needs consistent therapy. She also relies on medical equipment for mobility.

“She’s a blessing. They told me lots of things were going to happen to her and she faced all those obstacles. She’s a miracle child,” said Robertson, who in addition to being a single mom works full-time as a nurse.

Angel’s wheelchair alone cost $11,000 and her medication costs around $500 a month. Include therapy sessions and other medical equipment like a bathroom chair and stander the monthly medical costs are in the tens of thousands. Currently, all those costs are currently covered under Medicaid.

“Without it (Medicaid) I wouldn’t be able to give her the chance at life that she has. I am able to provide for her and my two other children,” said Robertson.

Despite White House statements to the contrary, the overhaul laid out in the bill would cut federal Medicaid spending by $834 billion over 10 years, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assessment.

Angel and her two big brothers are in a summer program at United Rehabilitation Services (URS) in Dayton. Hope says URS plays a major role in her family’s life.

URS executive director Dennis Grant says 90 percent of their adult clients rely on Medicaid. Grant says the health care bill coupled with a looming state budget could be catastrophic for people with disabilities.

“I want people to understand how important Medicaid is to people with disabilities. When we make decisions about reducing entitlements, we’re making decisions about whether people can live. This is a big deal,” said Grant.

One of many reasons Hope has a message for the Senate.

“If you had a child and you had to jump over all those hurdles and obstacles just to get them to be mobile- wheelchair, walker. Put yourself on the other side. You dont live that life. Just to give our children the same opportunities,” said Robertson.

Robertson and Grant hope the public will make their voices heard and contact their senators. The GOP hopes to have the bill voted on before the 4th of July holiday break, however an official date has not been set with several Republican outwardly opposing the bill.

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