Q&A: Saige’s story

Saige and her sister Naia ( one of her most favorite people)

Legislation to repeal the ACA threatens Medicaid programs. It would repeal the Community First Choice Option, a Medicaid program that was established under the ACA.

This option provides funding to states to cover home- and community-based supports that allow people to live at home and with their families.

Eugene resident Neva Donaldson wants lawmakers to understand the importance of Medicaid to her family and the larger disability community. 

How old is your daughter?
Our daughter Saige is now 18 years old.

Can you tell us a little about her? What does she enjoy doing?

Saige is a happy, complex, determined and affectionate young lady.  She enjoys drawing and participating in various art projects. She has a well-developed sense of style and color (both in art and in clothing).  She likes music (and loves to play the drums). Saige enjoys playfully teasing with familiar trusted people in her life.  She enjoys yoga (stretching exercises), swimming and baking.

She experiences autism, cognitive disability, anxiety and OCD. She has had recent serious medical needs due to the negative side effect of an anti-anxiety medication prescribed several years ago.

Saige, her brother and sister at a recent doctor appointment.

How has the medical coverage helped your daughter?

The ACA has allowed my daughter to have Medicaid health insurance which in turn saved her life. Without this health coverage my daughter would be medically fragile and our family would be bankrupt.

How does the long-term care support help your daughter?

The ACA provides my daughter long-term care support in our family home, which has allowed us to keep her at home where she belongs. The support provided by the ACA as allowed my family to be whole again, happy, functional and thriving.

Saige hugging her dad and brother.

What was your life like before this support?

I do not want to return to a time where there is no support for my child. The lack of support created high stress levels and turmoil for my family. I felt isolated and alone. I didn’t have hope for my child’s future.

If the ACA replacement bill passes, how will that impact your family?

The ACA is a life-changing solution for my family and so many other families whose lives are impacted by developmental disabilities.  I have seen first-hand many families gain strength and hope because of the ACA.

Children with disabilities have been able to remain in their homes with their families because the ACA provided much-needed support.  It has been truly life-changing for many, many families. It has helped us and others find purpose, happiness and support.

Not funding the community choice state plan for long-term support will have a devastating effect on our community.  Care providers will be without work. Families will be without support. And our community will struggle.

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


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