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LETTER: My family is not a statistic
July 21, 2017

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I don't want to hear more numbers. I am not a number. My children are not numbers.

When they talk about millions of Americans losing Medicaid, they're talking about my family. When they say Medicaid recipients are "takers" who don't deserve medical care unless they "get a job," they are talking about my children and me.

I am the mom of two adult children with significant medical needs. My youngest, Sam, is 26 and requires full time care for epilepsy. He experiences almost daily seizures, leaving him incapacitated and unable to function. He is tube-fed and must receive nine medications every day. My oldest, Jesse, has autism and a learning disability.

Since they were born, their dad and I have done everything within our power to care for them. We have worked with doctors, therapists, educators and human service workers to help our sons grow up to be the best, healthiest, happiest human beings possible.

That has been our life-long mission. To give our sons a life of health and happiness. Isn't that the hope of all parents?

Now, with the new health care legislation that would cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid, my children, my husband and I are terrified to think of what will happen. How will we continue helping our sons lead healthy lives with the daily care they need from doctors and medical professionals?

When I hear criticism about "those Americans receiving free health care" - when I hear that we should just "work harder" - I think about a newly married, young couple. A couple that's healthy and happy, with a bright future ahead. I think of how we never imagined in our wildest dreams that we would deal with catastrophic health problems - until one day, we did. Who ever expects to be in a situation like ours?

My children aren't takers. My family isn't a statistic. We are just like thousands of other North Dakotan families, and yes, we happen to deal with severe and expensive medical needs.

Medicaid has been a lifesaver for my family. The legislation before Congress would be devastating - not just to 22 million Americans - not just to 90,000 North Dakotans on Medicaid - but to my boys and me.

Please help other "not-so-fortunate" families care for their loved ones. Please ask our representatives to vote against this legislation.

Mary L. Rennich,

Bismarck

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