Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mom: "Medicare Saved My Family"

Special thanks to Monique Ruffin -- a mother, author, life coach, and advocate for her son, who has Down syndrome -- for today's post. I spotted her emotional post on the Mom.me website, where she and another mother wrote about "What Health Care Policy Means for Moms." Click to read a counter-argument from a mother who does not support the Affordable Care Act. Monique writes:

"When my son was born with Down syndrome, I was shocked by all the new concerns our family faced. Our hearts were happy and heavy at the same time. We were new parents to a beautiful baby boy whose future was uncertain. After spending the first week of his life in the neonatal unit of the hospital, we brought our son home to begin our journey of loving and supporting him as he grows into his greatest potential.

"We quickly learned to take advantage of the support available from various state and federal agencies. Within weeks we were pointed to our local Regional Center, a federally and state funded organization designed to support children and families caring for people with special needs. By the time my son was 4 weeks old, there was someone visiting my home weekly to assist me and teach me how I can support my son’s development. I was directed to an occupational therapist, a speech and communication therapist, a behavioral therapist, and an eating specialist to help me understand and overcome my son’s challenges. The center also offers classes for parents, including how to potty train children with special needs and how to teach special needs kids to read. The information and resources are invaluable and come at no cost to the families of the children.

"My entire life revolves around my ability to receive the services and tools to support my son, who at 5 years old is thriving—largely because of the assistance and guidance of the Regional Center’s staff and services.

"If the Romney/Ryan ticket wins this upcoming election and we suffer more cuts to the services that like those of the Regional Center and Medicare, what will happen to families like mine? The Ryan cuts—between 50 percent and 75 percent—to Medicaid would drastically decrease the federal dollars. These federal cuts would likely force the states to pick up the cost or drop nearly 19 million Medicaid recipients, including the very poor, seniors, and pregnant mothers. Putting millions of families like mine, who are not able to absorb the high cost of medication and treatments, in dire straits. On the other hand, the Obama plan works with health care providers and hospitals to cut their cost. Obama’s plan also creates a health care mandate for all citizens bringing more people into the health care pool.

"It was my family’s need for support and my connection with other families in far more severe conditions—like a single mother with four autistic children—that inspired me to start writing and getting involved in politics like health care reform. Unless you have a child or close family member with special needs, and have faced the onslaught of medical treatments and therapies he or she requires, you don’t understand how these programs help us stay afloat emotionally, mentally, and physically.

"My heart nearly jumps out of my chest when I consider what will likely happen to our babies if the Medicare proposals of the Romney/Ryan ticket are implemented. I am asking myself, 'Are we are nation that wants to stand by as millions of children are denied access to services that not only create possibilities for them, but also actually save their lives?' It is in situations like this that government is needed to assure that all our citizens have access to services that their lives depend on. Such resources would otherwise go only to those with financial means. Is this who we are? I know firsthand of what President Clinton spoke of, but I also know firsthand the progress of a child whose life has an abundance of possibilities, created directly by the love and the care we receive from these life-saving social services."

Follow Monique on Twitter at @moniqueruffin and read her other posts on Mom.me and the Huffington Post.
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