Here are the voices of fellow Coloradans who need Medicaid:

“If it weren’t for Medicaid and the CDASS program, at best my family would have been destroyed. I have spent decades fighting to keep my disabled son at home where he belongs but as a single parent I couldn’t stay home with him and work at the same time. At my lowest and when I felt that the entire world was against us, I learned about the CDASS program. It saved our lives. We were heading to the demise of so many families that lose their homes and lives because of a family medical tragedy. Medicaid made it so I could return to work and care for my son at the same time. Because of Medicaid my son is not only being cared for by people he knows and trusts, but Medicaid gave my son a voice in his own medical care which also gives him a voice in his own world. I owe our lives to Medicaid and all of the wonderful people that provide those necessary services and have helped us be who we are today.  

I can’t say enough about how valuable Medicaid is for our entire community. Medicaid provides flu shots for children, the elderly and for persons at risk at no extra cost. That’s huge for these populations and it keeps our community safer as less members are exposed to the flu and other communicable issues. I also know that Medicaid and the EPSDT program provides invaluable early testing and screening for children. As a child welfare caseworker, I have personally seen a lot of abused and neglected children who without the help of Medicaid and supportive in-home services would not have been able to return home and without Medicaid there would be no foster care program either. Medicaid provides services to keep our children healthy emotionally, mentally, physically and socially. And it’s not just persons on Medicaid that benefit. Medicaid also pays the co-pays on family insurance plans to help the family pay less for medical care which keeps more money in the family to pay for other costs. Respite is a program that Medicaid offers to help people to have a break from the care they provide to family members in order to rejuvenate themselves. As a 24/7 caregiver I know the value of this small but necessary service. Sometimes it is all a person needs to get back into the fight for their loved ones. Thank you Medicaid for that!"  

“We could not survive as a family without Medicaid. Medicaid cover the costs of my daughter’s seizure medication to try and reduce the number of seizures (~$1,300 monthly), her physical, occupational, and speech therapies to try and improve her abilities as well as prevent aspiration, muscle contractures and other problems (~$1,400 monthly), her wheelchair so that she can get around (~$3,500), her feeding and activity chair so that she can sit upright in a good posture and participate in activities as well as be safely fed to reduce aspiration (~$4,000), a bath chair so she can be washed (~$400),  a patient lift system to help transfer her as she gets heavier (~$4,000) and the neurology, dental, pediatrics and other doctor appointments to keep her healthy (~$20,000 annually). There are more expenses too – for her specialized foods and diapers (~$500 monthly).”

“Medicaid has made a huge positive impact on my life. For the first time I can go to doctors and receive high quality care, instead of avoiding it because of the high deductible ACA plan I was on before. I can now get psychotherapy with enough frequency and duration that it is beginning to help me cope better with the stresses of being disabled. I don't have to worry as much about money, before I was paying a monthly premium and my annual deductible which was a huge financial burden. I never spent money on new clothes or going out to eat. I don't do it much now, but at least once in a while I can, and I don't feel like I am putting myself in a bind. I love the quality of healthcare I now receive at an integrated healthcare clinic where they treat me like a person that matters. It lifts my spirits and I feel more like taking care of myself because they encourage me to. It's hard to put into words what it has done for me. In a way it has allowed me to feel human again. As for work, it allows me to keep working at the lesser levels I am able to because I don't have to come up with a huge premium payment every month or get financially destroyed by the deductible every year. I have been able to delay applying for SSDI because of this.”

“My son's disabilities are severe and he has lived at the Grand Junction Regional Center for the past nine years. Prior to his admission to the Regional Center, he was in and out of Children's Hospital and the Fort Logan Mental Health Institute. The Regional Center, funded with Medicaid dollars, has literally saved his life.”

“I don't directly benefit from Medicaid. But I still care about it! I don't think it is right that the 20% of Medicaid recipients who receive 80% of the funding should have to fight this battle on their own. They need access, I know they should have that access, and I am proud to be someone who says, ‘YES, I don't currently benefit from Medicaid but I want my friends who do benefit to continue to receive my tax dollars through Medicaid.’ Even more importantly, I want Medicaid to be there in the event that I need it someday.”

“I am an attendant and adoptive mother of an individual that receives health care and Attendant services through Colorado Medicaid. I am not exaggerating, even a little, when I say she could die without it. If she did not receive CDASS she could not live independently at home. One of the many things I do is watch out for her safety. Even with my supervision, due to her numerous issues, she falls, a lot. She’s broken bones continues to get head and other injuries Some of the other things I do are assist her after seizures. In the past she has become so confused after seizures she’s received serious burns. Another is to set up her life saving medications. Past head injuries make that a task too difficult for her. I also assist her around the house and take her to appointments regarding her various health issues. Often, I have taken her to the emergency room for care and admittance to the hospital. Her medications are anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 per month. All but a handful of them help her sustain life. Some reduce extreme pain caused by another condition, making it possible for her to function at home. Other medications keep her bipolar disorder under control so she can live and function in society. Her safety and well-being would become so compromised without attendant services and medication assistance she would not be able to live at home. Her survival is totally dependent on Medicaid and its related services.”

“I absolutely would be in a nursing home without Medicaid. I cannot physically do all things needed to live independently without the support provided by Medicaid. Similarly, I would not be able to keep a job without the same supports. I am disabled; that doesn't mean that I have given up on life and doesn't mean that I do not want to do everything I can to support myself and be a productive member of society. In relation to healthcare; I would not be able to pay to see doctors nor could I pay for some of the medications I have been on for over a decade. I would be riddled with pressure sores and infections. There is no way I (or if I had to rely on my family) could survive without these programs much less have any kind of quality of life.”

“My daughter would more than likely die and we would become homeless if Medicaid weren’t available to help. Currently I work full time and carry group insurance as primary but it does not cover everything my daughter needs. She requires a 24-hour personal duty nurse to stay healthy and in her home. I am a single mom so if I don't work we would become homeless. She is immune compromised and needs one-on-one care so there is no option for residential care.”

“I come from a hard-working family and we never even considered relying on the government for assistance, although in retrospect we were certainly eligible. We learned that education was the security we needed. I earned a doctorate which I paid for by working two full-time and one part-time job during my college years. Debt was not a word in our vocabulary. I am now entering "my retirement years." My son has been battling severe health problems for the past seven years. I was covering his medical expenses and learned how people can go bankrupt trying to do the moral thing. He eventually was placed on Medicaid. This has allowed him to survive and receive medical care. It has allowed me to stop digging into my retirement to care for him so that I may be able to pay for my medical expenses as I age.”

“My 27-year-old son is sadly been struggling his entire life with high-functioning autism and since the age of 12 schizophrenia. He is able to live at home and not be institutionalized because he is on CDASS. Without it there is no way he could safely live at home. He has been hospitalized several times since the age of 15. The only treatment that his psychosis responds well to is ECT, electro convulsive therapy. He has been on 47 different medications since he was diagnosed 15 years ago. He is a bright, sweet, compliant, kind, empathetic young man. But due to the nature of his illness and the side effects of ECT his short-term memory has been impaired. He can't remember the names of his medications or dosages. He has to be watched to ensure he takes his medications because he will set it aside and forget to take it. I have found it in the cupboard or in his desk several times. He gets symptomatic very quickly if he doesn't take his medications on time and regularly. He's only able to live at home because of CDASS. Without it there would be no way that he would be safe other than in an institution. I am 49 and as long as I'm on this earth his health will be my priority. I am terrified of what will happen once I leave this earth. Who will step in and take over? Without CDASS a very bright young man whose never harmed a fly would be at great risk for deteriorating. He deserves to live at home with us his family for as long as possible. Not with a bunch of strangers who will never know him like his family does.”

“Even though I work full time at the Western Sugar plant, I am considered a seasonal employee and don't have a health care plan. I go without health care from September through May each year. In the summer, I can go on unemployment but I'm one of the lucky ones who have a full-time job. But right now, my monthly income is so low that I am eligible for Medicaid, even with full-time employment. I need my gall bladder out, so Medicaid will pay for the surgery, doctor appointments, hospital and pain medications. I have repetitive injury on my hands, wrists and I need shoulder surgery. I was working at Cargill when I fell off the catwalk, and then reinjured it when moving furniture. It won't heal and is hurting all the time. My hands and wrists are injured from hauling slabs of cattle with spine and ribs, separating the meat from bone and then slicing the meat - all in under a minute as I was on the production line. I haven't been to the doctor about my hands and wrists. I don't volunteer to go to the doctor, ever, unless I can't function. I have two kids, ages 17 and 13. They both get Medicaid. My son was born with an extra half a thumb and he now needs surgery on his hand. The kids get their well child visits, immunizations and sick visits, none of which I could pay for. My 13-year-old daughter has strep frequently. My body is breaking down slowly from working in the oil fields, at the meat plant and now the sugar plant.”

“I have temporary custody of my granddaughter for over a year now. She has Type 1 Diabetes. A diagnoses she got 3 years ago. She just got on the pump on March 16. Medicaid covers everything, thank God. Her hospital stay, all her medications, the pump, meter and strips. She has a continuous glucose monitor, test strips, keytone strips and insulin. When she first moved in it was over $3000 of medicine that I first picked up. Her Mom was eligible and that's how she was eligible. First her Mom lost custody, then her Dad lost custody and now she is with me. I am seeking permanent custody of her. But I worry that I may not be able to keep her because if she loses Medicaid, I can’t afford the medicine and equipment that keep her alive.”

“My sleep disorder forced me to quit many jobs after less than a year due to inconsistencies in my ability to get up in the morning, last through a whole workday, or get in enough hours in a work week. Constant exhaustion with no apparent cause led to chronic pain, headaches, and severe depression as well. My sleep disorder began to worsen over the last few years. At my lowest point I was sleeping up to 16 hours a day and could only be productive--including doing things like showering, feeding myself--one or two hours a day. Because of my education, rich and varied work history and lack of a concrete diagnosis, I was denied for SSI. I struggled to work even 10 hours a week consistently in an attempt to survive and went on Medicaid. Now that I've been diagnosed--thanks to Medicaid--I have medication I can take. It isn't a cure, but I can work up to 20 hours a week now and attend to my own personal care and my mental health has improved dramatically. The medication and management thereof is provided via Medicaid.”

“I depend on Medicaid to maintain my independence and health after 28 years with paralysis due to a spinal cord injury from a car accident at the age of 20. Aging is akin to going through the initial injury repeatedly every 10 years or so. Medicaid allowed me to work off and on for more than 17 years while mitigating the effects of my injury. I have recently had to transition to a wheelchair and without the Medicaid buy-in for disabled working adults, I would not be able to still be an active member of society. With Medicaid, I can see my doctor without having to wait until the first day of the month in order to be able to pay the copays for the frequent visits aging requires. Preventative medical care provided by Medicaid has eliminated my visits to the ER over the years for various falls and complications. Medicaid has allowed me to have a better relationship with my providers and be able to follow up on complications that would ultimately end in my being admitted for serious illnesses. I previously lived in a state without the Medicaid buy-in and I did not go to the doctor for preventative care because I could not afford the medicine or other therapies that prevented the complication in the first place. Medicaid has saved my life literally more than once. In the 90's, I survived a pressure sore that caused osteomyelitis and subsequent sepsis. Without that treatment years ago and Medicaid, I would never have been able to return to college and work the many years that Medicaid made such aspirations possible.”

“My son without a doubt would have to be institutionalized and that's cruel as he has never been a threat to anyone. With the correct support he has some quality of life. He hears voices and sometimes is suicidal. He has always told us when he's not feeling well so we can get him the help he needs. If he were to be left alone I fear the worst would happen to him. All he receives is SSDI of 750.00 per month. How can anyone survive on that? While we are still able to care for him he wants to live at home where he feels safe and not alone and scared of his symptoms. He would be in a nightmarish existence if there was no one to care for him. He's often said if he didn't have us he would have given up and taken his own life years ago. As a mother that breaks my heart as I know no one is going to be as invested and care for him and love him and advocate for him like we do. He shouldn't be forced to live in a restrictive setting with strangers. He knows that someday it may happen years from now if he were to get worse. But while he has us he should be living as normal as possible. Without CDASS he wouldn't be able to function.”

“Without such services they would likely be homeless, incarcerated or dead. This is especially true for our adult son. He is now in his mid-30's. Is over 6 feet tall and weighs around 300 lbs. His developmental disability combined with his mental illness places him at high risk for for behaviors which can escalate to verbal and sometimes physical violence. Again, these supports are essential for the health, safety and well-being of our adult children. To prevent them from harm and exploitation. They also protect myself and my spouse as we are now seniors and unable to have our children reside with us without placing ourselves in harm’s way. Lastly these services also protect the community at large from harm resulting from their lack of social filters and inappropriate behaviors that can easily be misunderstood by the general public, misunderstanding that could lead to behavioral escalation that could result in violence. Funding caps and cuts will result in service cuts. Services providers, I.E. Host Home, Day Program, Job Coaches, etc. who work with this population must be people of strong ethics and great intelligence and patience, anything less results in exploitation and harm. These providers are already underpaid and finding people with the above-mentioned qualities is challenging. Any funding caps or cuts will result in loss of jobs for providers or pay cuts. Or providers may find themselves being asked to accept increases to staff per consumer ratios. Something that IS DANGEROUS to both staff and consumers.”