Arielle is a mother of two young sons, one who has severe disabilities and autism, and is a survivor of the Joplin tornado. Before the tornado, Arielle worked at a company that provided health insurance benefits, but she lost everything in the tornado, including her job and benefits. Arielle moved to Oklahoma for a job, where she also had insurance but moved back to Missouri to be closer to home.
Because her son has severe disabilities and requires a significant amount of care, Arielle was unable to work full time or receive benefits. After finally getting her son covered through Medicaid, Arielle was able to hire a worker to care for him, which allows her to work part-time and go to school full-time. However, Arielle’s employer does not provide health insurance. She now makes too much to qualify for Medicaid in Missouri, but not enough to receive Marketplace discounts, so she remains uninsured.
Arielle suffers from PTSD related to the tornado, migraines, and arthritis, but she goes without the medication she was prescribed after a recent E.R. visit because, without health coverage, the medication would cost her $1,000 per unit. Arielle says that Medicaid Expansion would help give her security and peace of mind as she works hard to get a good education, remain as healthy as possible, and provide for her family. She explains, “There are many like me who are working hard trying to take care of themselves and their families. It’s really scary to think of what could happen to us if something awful were to happen to me and I don’t have any coverage.” Arielle says in her own words, “There are so many stereotypes about single mothers. But there are many like me who are working hard, trying to take care of themselves and their families. We’re in a constant battle to keep our heads above water. And it’s really scary to think of what could happen to us if something awful were to happen to me and I don’t have any coverage.”