On Monday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced he will expand the state's Medicaid program with federal dollars, much to the chagrin of conservatives who had hoped he would have rebuffed a portion of Obamacare. Yahoo News asked Ohioans to react. Here's one perspective.
COMMENTARY | John Kasich earns my kudos for his decision to expand the Medicaid program in Ohio. More than 2.3 million Ohioans received help through the Medicaid program in 2010, and many more of Ohio's 1.5-million uninsured residents desperately need the help of this medical assistance program. Access to affordable medical care is a necessity, but too many residents go without that basic right even though they are citizens of one of the most prosperous countries on Earth.
In my hometown of Warren, in northeastern Ohio, where the median household income is $30,507, Medicaid is often the only means of paying for life-saving medications and doctor visits. My friend Jim depends on Medicaid to pay for the care of several chronic illnesses, and without Medicaid, he would not get the medication he needs to stay healthy enough to go to work to support his family. Jim earns about $13,000 a year for his family of five, and Medicaid is his lifeline.
I had a female friend, Jasmine, who was uninsured but made $83 a month too much to qualify for Medicaid. She found a lump in her breast, and it took four months to get her initial medical appointment because of her lack of insurance. When she finally got an appointment and started treatment -- seven months later -- the cancer was Stage III. A year later, the cancer claimed her life, and I often wonder, "If she had insurance, would she be alive today?" At the very least, I'm sure she would have gotten her cancer care a lot sooner.
There are so many more people who need access to medical care but don't get it because of lack of insurance. I know because I am one of them. I've worked for a company for five years but still don't have health insurance. I make $220 a month too much to qualify for Medicaid, so when I'm sick, I just don't go to a doctor. Medicaid makes a world of difference, and until health care in America is made more affordable, those who need Medicaid should have access to it.
- Health Care Policy
- John Kasich