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Doggett, citizens blast proposed cuts to Medicaid

Monday, July 17, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Several hundred people gathered in downtown Austin Sunday to hear Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) blast the proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act. He said the U.S. Senate bill is actually a tax bill, “masquerading as an insurance bill.” In addition to Doggett, those in attendance heard from Texas residents who described their personal experiences and explained their need for continued stable funding of the federal Medicaid program. Doggett told the audience about half of Texas children rely on Medicaid to help with their medical care. One of those children is Braden Brown, who attended the meeting with his family, including his mother, Crystal, and father, Brien. Crystal Brown explained to the crowd that Braden has complex, chronic medical needs, which the family cannot afford to treat without the assistance of Medicaid, even though Brien is an Austin firefighter. Crystal said Braden is the only member of the family covered by Medicaid. “I’m not here to ask the government to take on the entire burden of our son’s needs. My husband, Brien, is an Austin firefighter and a member of Texas Task Force 1. We are blessed that he is able to provide for our basic needs as a family of five. When it comes to providing the straightforward medical needs of a special needs child, the cost can be insurmountable and unpredictable. We have primary health insurance through the city of Austin but it is crucial that we have Medicaid as a secondary insurer because not all of Braden’s medications, therapies and procedures are covered under that (city) plan. The process to obtain Medicaid is already exceptionally difficult,” she said. The current proposals in the U.S. Congress “will place hard-working families like mine in a devastating position. Not only would we no longer qualify for Medicaid due to income restrictions, the block grant amount would be insufficient when applied to the medically fragile population.” Without Medicaid, she said, the 20 percent copays for various treatments that Braden undergoes would greatly exceed the family’s monthly income. The Senate is not expected to vote on the measure until at least next week, due to the absence of Arizona Sen. John McCain for medical reasons.

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