Sally is 35 years old and lives in St. Louis. As a low-income single parent, she and her 13-year-old son Colin both currently qualify for Medicaid in MO. Last Halloween, Colin fell into ketoacidosis and was rushed to the hospital. After several days in the ICU, it was discovered that a Respiratory Syncytial Virus had triggered his reaction and he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. With treatment and medication, Colin is stable, but now lives with a pre-existing condition.
Sally and Colin live very close to the dangers of the Medicaid Gap. “As I try to become more financially secure, I’m scared of losing my insurance”, says Sally. If she makes more money, she won’t qualify for Medicaid and will be without the insurance she and her son need. If she makes more still and seeks out private insurance in this climate where consumer protections for people with preexisting conditions are under attack, her son could be denied essential care. Full and comprehensive Medicaid expansion in MO would allow her to work without the threat of losing their care. Sally and Colin deserve to have quality affordable health care no matter how much their family makes, and regardless of Colin’s medical history.
Sally is a social work student at UMSL, where she studies the systems she is struggling to live and work within. She is critical of the lack of sensitivity and diversity training present in the way doctors and nurses are taught and also particularly interested in how health care systems address trauma. “You need a certain tenacity to fight for health care in the US, which is very hard with trauma”. This creates a trauma cycle in the U.S., especially among people in lower income brackets. Sally is well aware of the precariousness of these systems, and is active with Missouri Health Care for All and at UMSL to improve the future of health care in Missouri.