Dear United States Senate,
It seems only fitting to make a final plea on the eve of July the fourth. Abraham Lincoln asserted, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” I’m no scholar when it comes to history, but I’ll tell you what it means to me. Your position as Senators travels with power and your people, we believe in you. You, too, want our nation to be incredible and so, you’ve been placed by the people and given our trust.
Trust. We observe from the sidelines and critique the way you tackle our country’s conundrum of health care. None of us envy you and yet, we expect so very much. We trust you and know it’s not easy and we only want the best, not for ourselves, but for our little people.
Your little people, the children too young to vote, whose parents have been entrusted to choose and consider their futures. And so, we make a plea for the people who have yet to write their names on a ballot, our children. Did you know that one in five children has special needs of some type and half of those access Medicaid?
Hundreds of families from all over the country, who benefit from Medicaid, shared their personal stories and photos of their precious children with me. They are your people too: Sophia from NC, Tucker from Montana, Margot from South Dakota, TJ from Vermont, Regina from Georgia, Emma from Ohio, Oliver from Nebraska, and the list goes on, several families from nearly every state. They detailed Medicaid support: heart transplants, nursing care, gtubes, gait trainers, tracheotomies, full time nursing, adaptive equipment, surgeries, medications, therapies, and countless hospital stays.
My own son Amos is three, he has autism and an unnamed genetic disorder. Though he doesn’t officially qualify for Medicaid, he receives speech and occupational therapy by school therapists whose salaries are reimbursed by Medicaid. In 2012-2013, NC public schools were reimbursed 8 million for these types of services, a drop in the bucket but a big deal for a title one school in Eastern NC. Do you see why we are so passionate and doing everything in our power so you will hear our voices? Our little people matter and their lives have tremendous weight.
Please study these faces and consider the families who share their powerful stories. I believe Abraham Lincoln would agree that our children encompass the very meaning of “government for the people.”
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Adrian H. Wood, PhD
Mother of Thomas, Russell, Blair and Amos