Candace, Jackson County

Candace is the primary provider for her family, her work as a principal’s secretary supports her husband and daughter. Candace has insurance through her job but the cost to add her daughter is over $1,000 per month, a cost she cannot afford to pay. Previously, Candace was able to enroll her daughter in Medicaid which provided significant relief. Through Medicaid, they had a $200 premium until Candace sent in paperwork showing her Cherokee heritage which took care of the premium and made the monthly cost $0. Her daughter has now aged out of Medicaid for children and is currently in the coverage gap, waiting for Medicaid expansion to go into effect. She went to college and the insurance offered there was $313 a month which Candace could not afford.

In addition to her daughter’s medical costs, Candace worries for her husband and the cost of his medical bills. Her husband is 62 years old and has paralysis on one side, diabetes, pulmonary fibrosis. At times, they have paid about $250 in copays at a time, an overwhelming cost that has led to medical debt for their family. In reference to managing her daughter and husband’s medical bills, Candace says, “we just have to limp along and cross our fingers”. Candace shares that her family lives in the suburbs of Kansas City and she carries a lot of shame around the medical debt her family has. Candace says, “we don’t tell anyone about this. It makes me emotional to talk about…there is no reason why people in this country can’t have housing and basic needs met”.

Candace observes the way her white neighbors speak about healthcare and the many stereotypes they have for people in need, especially people of color. Candace shares that she has a “veil of whiteness her grandmother doesn’t have”. Because of her Cherokee heritage, Candace sees things others don’t see. She understands that she doesn’t experience the prejudice others do and is deeply concerned about the narratives and false information surrounding Black folk’s need for Medicaid. She goes on to say, “I can’t wrap my head around why anyone would be unwilling to take a closer look at this country’s health care problem. Why are legislators so resistant to look at this?”

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