Back to School - Thanks to Medicaid

It is official, school is back in session!  While some schools are going towards tablets instead of trapper keepers one thing hasn’t changed, children’s health.

Jeorgia and Jackson are some of our West Virginia youth who are back to studying, playing sports, dancing, and performing arts.  Many parents, and grandparents, can relate to the following story shared by Deena Ellison (one of our storytellers in Charleston), “If you were to add up the hospital stays, a finger surgery, trips to med express [kids will be kids], doctor visits, dentist visits, ortho, braces, and therapy, I’m sure we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses just since the kids came to live with us.”

Deena is the grandmother and legal guardian of both Jeorgia and Jackson.  As with many families in the mountain state, custody and responsibility for the children fell on the grandparents because of the opioid crisis. 

For parents and guardians, the aspect of hustle and advice on how we “make it work” is shared through each and every story in this WVTFM project. Deena said, “My husband is 65 and retired and hustles odd jobs every day to put food on the table and pay for track shoes and dance class. Having medical expenses covered is one thing that helps us make sure these kids are healthy, mentally, physically and emotionally. It is something we count on to help raise them.”

In West Virginia, about 220,000 of our kids are on Medicaid/CHIP.  This is almost 40% of all of our Medicaid/CHIP enrollees.  Consider all the broken fingers, poison ivy reactions, sprained ankles, sore throats, braces and dental work, well-child visits, shots, and therapy covered for our children by these programs.  Think of all the things that would not get treated if coverage were not available and how that would affect the children’s long-term health.

“As grandparents, we had not planned for, nor would we have been capable by ourselves to provide for, all these medical expenses”, Medicaid and CHIP provide these services for our youth.

As the children are learning about math, technology, arts, and sciences, maybe we as a state can learn from each of these storytellers and their healthcare stories.  Maybe we can learn, while the system is not perfect, Medicaid/CHIP provide for over one-third of our state and is vital to our present and future not only in healthcare but in business, development, and life. Maybe our local, state, and federal legislators can learn a few things from how we “make it work” and support and protect our healthcare.

West Virginia, it is time to share our stories from the mountaintops. Share your story on our website, where our Story Collection Coordinator will follow-up to learn how you and your family “make it work.” 

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West Virginians Together for Medicaid