Nebraska mom concerned about proposed Medicaid changes

Published: Jul. 8, 2017 at 6:43 PM CDT
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This coming week senators are expected to continue to discuss repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. If their latest version of the bill passes, it will make big changes to Medicaid.

It wouldn't cut Medicaid spending, but it would slow the rate of spending for the program.

Right now there are more than 70 million Americans insured on Medicaid.

Austin Stewart is one of them. His mother, Teresa, is concerned about her sons future. Austin is 20-years-old and needs round the clock are because of his disability.

Teresa said she understands both sides of the Medicaid debate, but for her, the program keeps her son alive.

"Austin is, like any parent, the love of my life," said Teresa Stewart

Teresa works two jobs and also cares for Austin whenever she's home. She said neither her, or Austin asked for this.

"He was born fine, his brain hemorrhaged. It left him quadriplegic, non verbal, he can't eat food by mouth. He's got epilepsy, cerebral palsy, cortical blindness," said Stewart.

With his disabilities, Austin has an in-home nurse, multiple pieces of medical equipment in his home, several drugs to take, and special therapies he has to do everyday.

"So a cut back on Medicaid would affect us greatly. It's not as if I could quit my job and stay home with him and still pay my mortgage," said Stewart.

With the proposed health care bill, Medicaid would see some cuts,and for its future funding. Caps would be used at the state level. Limiting the amount of money given for insurance per person.

"If there's a cap on this and the cap runs out... what happens? What then? He doesn't get his medications. He doesn't get his treatments. We don't have nursing care. A whole family is destroyed," said Stewart.

10/11 spoke with Congressman Fortenberry Friday about the proposed plans for medicaid. He says moving away from federal funding could lower costs for everyone else.

"The current debate is to whether or not to shift that back somewhat to the states with additional types of subsidy to the states for the proper type of intervention," said Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.

But for Teresa, there isn't enough information on how the state is going to afford and fund the Medicaid program.

"If they trickle this down and give it to the states a lot of us families are also concerned. What happens if the state runs out of money? What guarantees are they putting out there that that's not going to happen," said Stewart.

Teresa said if Austin's Medicaid was taken away some day, they would have hundreds of thousands of expenses to pay for him medically.

The senate is currently not in session, but the proposed health care bill will be back open for discussion on Monday, July 10th.

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