Q&A: Mia’s story

Chris Heydemann and his daughter Mia, signing “I love you.” Mia is deaf.

Lisa Heydemann of Wilsonville is the primary caregiver to her 21-year-old daughter Mia. Their family relies on community-based services like respite care.

Proposed cuts to Medicaid in the AHCA bill before Congress threaten to cut off their access to those services.

Can you tell us about Mia?

Mia is developmentally delayed, deaf, has Feingold’s Syndrome, and serious mental health issues.

How types of services available through Medicaid does your family benefit from?

As my daughter’s full-time caregiver, I rely on respite care. We will most likely have our daughter for the rest of her life. I will likely be her caregiver until I’m too old to do so.

What would cuts to Medicaid mean for Mia and other people with disabilities?

I’m concerned about the loss of services. But, for others less fortunate than ourselves, it will kill them. I can only imagine how much harder it is for others living paycheck to paycheck.

People with disabilities will suffer terribly, and they don’t have the luxury of years to wait for services.

What was your family’s life like before the ACA?

Like thousands of other families, before the ACA we were swimming in medical debt, and lost our house.  My husband has a decent job. We’ve always had a good income, but still our medical costs and the fact that I need to serve as my daughter’s full-time caregiver threatened our financial stability.

The expansion of Medicaid has allowed us to join the thousands of people finally receiving relief from medical debt, exhaustion and lack of support.

What would you say to Members of Congress who are considering making deep cuts to Medicaid that would impact these programs?

As the mother of an adult daughter with developmental disabilities, I urge all Oregonians to think hard about the profound impact that the proposed cuts to Medicaid would have on the lives of people with disabilities.

For my family, cuts to Medicaid would hurt us financially, medically and dramatically reduce our quality of life.

Let your federal representatives know how the Oregon Health Plan helps you. Call 202-224-3121 or use this link to find their mailing or email address. Make it clear that Medicaid caps and cuts will hurt people with disabilities.

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