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Hello. My name is Nita and at the beginning of this April I turned 64 years old. I have Diabetes, painful arthritis, Sleep Apnea, and hyperexotropia in my eyes, which results in double vision and makes driving difficult.
I have been unemployed for over 5 years now although I applied and applied and applied to many, many jobs. I received almost no job interviews- I presume that employers prefer younger employees. I used up all my savings and was about to be put out on the street in North Carolina when my brother told me that I could live in his house in Churchville, Virginia. I am now living there on early Retirement Social Security Benefits- a total of $635 a month, with $44.00 a month in Food Stamps. I cannot afford Insurance, health care, or most medications.
I applied for Medicaid combined with Disability last year but was denied both in November of 2013. I was told that pain is irrelevant in regards to Disability eligibility and that my conditions are not severe enough to warrant Disability as I do not yet have to use Insulin for my Diabetes and I am not bedridden. I am therefore not eligible for Medicaid because I do not have a young child and I am not yet 65 years old.
I live alone in my brother’s very old rural house in Churchville as he is currently working in West Virginia. The house has little insulation and lots of cracks in the storm windows so even though I kept my house temperature in the mid-50’s all winter and wear warm clothing, the fuel bills have been about $375 each month. I just got the fuel tank refilled this month and the bill is $589.00. That’s almost as much as I get for the whole month. How am I going to pay for that??
There are no stores and no public transportation in Churchville so I have to rely on my 1996 Oldsmobile to get me to Staunton for all my food and other needs. The car needs work, but I have no money for it, which is a bit scary as there is no other way to get anywhere. Gas is expensive and I often do not have sufficient money for gas to get to Staunton by the end of the month.
Yesterday I went for “Intake” to the Augusta County free “Medical Home Clinic” in Fishersville for the first time. I was prescribed a medication to help me breath at night as my sinuses get clogged up each night. The Generic medication cost $85.00 so of course I could not afford it and will have to continue to do without.
I cannot afford regular health care. I cannot afford Health Insurance. I cannot afford the medications I need. I cannot get sufficient support within the current Medicaid system for any medications I need, even at a “free” clinic. What will happen if I start to need drugs for my Diabetes or other ailments before I turn 65??
Medicaid Expansion would ensure that I get ALL the health care I need. It will also cover about 400,000 uninsured others in Virginia who are currently employed on low-salary jobs. Without Medicaid Expansion I, and others in similar situations, will probably die well before we should due to lack of finances for the health care we need.
Nita W, Charlottesville.