I am not a native Hoosier. I moved to rural Boone County 15 years ago to marry the best man I know. At the time, he told me Indiana is a great place to raise a family: people work hard, know each other and care about their neighbors and their community. He was right. Indiana is a place where people are still connected; they want to help their neighbors and contribute to their communities.
I am proud to be raising that kind of family. My husband and I both work hard, we each have – and have had for our entire marriage – multiple jobs, we volunteer in every way we can and we work to raise the best kids we can. Our family does look a little different than others, though. Both of our children have Mitochondrial Myopathy, they both have very complicated medical needs, they use wheelchairs, and in all parts of their lives – school, 4-H, library clubs and every other activity – they need to do some things a little differently. The reality is that the needs of my children are expensive, and physically and emotionally grueling, and we often struggle to meet them. We work hard to provide the insurance they need and to meet the extra costs that come with their issues. And we need a Medicaid Waiver to protect us from bankruptcy. I have always viewed the waivers as a real daily way my neighbors are helping our family. I’m not sure the policymakers who are proposing limiting access to the waivers have a full understanding of the impact of their propsoals. Losing waivers may in fact increase the cost children with disabilities cause the state. Without a waiver many families, including mine, lose the ability to work and to access the private insurance that reduces our children’s costs to Medicaid significantly. Without that income and the private insurance which comes with it, and without a Medicaid waiver, many families currently contributing positively to their communities – and to Indiana’s tax rolls – face the very real prospect of bankruptcy under the weight of overwhelming medical bills. My own family could be among them.
I hope a little of the Hoosier common sense and community commitment that drew me to Indiana will prevail and policy makers will step back and learn more about how waivers are supporting communities throughout the state before allowing this drastic measure to slipped into the state budget without any serious discussion or deliberation.