Basmin, St. Louis

Basmin is a 60 year old St. Louis resident. She worked at a library for many years and was suddenly let go in 2014. When Basmin tried to apply for Medicaid she was denied because she inherited a family home. Because she is a home owner, she is disqualified from Medicaid despite having very limited income. When discussing the barriers she faced while applying for Medicaid, Basmin says, “I feel like I’ll be counted out of services when I tell the truth. They’ll find something to disqualify you so I share as little as possible while staying honest. There’s a lot of distrust from the government and I believe it is rooted in racism. There are stereotypes of people running scams to get benefits from the government but I live in these communities, no one is running any games. We aren’t benefiting from any of this but we get labeled like we are-it’s infuriating”.

Basmin has a peripheral artery disease which restricts blood flow to your limbs and causes chronic pain. Basmin experienced this to the point of being unable to walk. In 2017, she got a stent put in which helped tremendously but left her with a hefty bill. The follow up appointments after the surgery were too expensive without insurance so she has not received the care she needs after her surgery and simply has to hope that all is well with the stent.

Currently, Basmin works part time at a low wage job with inconsistent hours. She has cataract in her left eye and has a tooth that is rotting. Without insurance, Basmin doesn’t know how she will receive care for these medical needs. As Basmin states, “I would be in much better health if I had Medicaid. My vision is a real concern, and the abscess in my tooth is going to have to be treated before it is pulled. If I had access to medical care, I would see someone more regularly and wouldn’t have to pay for much larger procedures down the road”.

Basmin lives in North side St. Louis where communities experience hardship not often seen in other areas. Basmin does not have transportation and has to walk or rely on public transportation to get to a clinic. As Basmin states, “the system is not serving the people. It shows in our public transit and in our healthcare. It seems like they don’t value anyone that rides the bus and it’s the same people on the bus that also need healthcare. It’s all connected, we’re just trying to get by and people in power keep making it harder and harder for us”.