Challenges and Medicaid Support During COVID-19
Overcoming obstacles is what West Virginians do daily, even outside of the recent global pandemic we are all facing.
Willow Stidham was one of 20 babies born at CAMC on April 7th, 2020, according to her mother Brook. As the third child to this family of now five, Medicaid provided insurance coverage and costs for the pregnancy and baby Willow was automatically signed up for the program as well.
There were both pros and cons to having to give birth during the statewide lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic, “I feel like it could have been better, the nurses were stressed and seemed on edge because of the virus” but Brook understood and acknowledge, “the experience was different.”
West Virginians for Affordable Health Care and Brook are grateful for the essential employees and medical professionals who are keeping our families safe during these challenging times. While Brook had to wear a mask during the entirety of her stay, while she paced back and forth in her room because she was not allowed to walk around the hallways, and while Daniel was the only visitor she could have, she took to heart the trying times and noted, “I liked it in that way, not having to entertain and shower for other people.” Honestly, other mothers might be able to empathize with that comment.
Brook, when not preparing for birth, works at a local credit union in the Charleston, WV area and provides for her family as best she can with a 40-hour work week. For a family of five, as Daniel studies to become a barber, Medicaid fills in as a vital social support program for the family.
Not only did Medicaid cover the birth of Willow but it has also provided lifesaving treatments for Brody, who has cystic fibrosis. Covering the doctor’s visits, now telemedicine visits via online portals, a vest, nebulizer, and nutritional supplements, Medicaid is helping this family stay healthy physically and preparing for their future from a financial perspective. Brook’s response to a question asked about how much treatments would cost without Medicaid for Brody, “I don’t have any idea but I’m sure I’d have a lot of bills.” Brook and Daniel have found a new home for their family which has grown, and during the crisis they stayed with Brook’s caring mother.
With the opening of the country, a newborn child, and two young boys (one with cystic fibrosis), Daniel studying for a profession which was “closed” (barber) times were challenging. Brook is now back to work, and the stress has mounted, “Right now I can keep him (Brody) safe but if they open up the country am I supposed to just keep him in the house?”
Making these difficult decisions are not just part of Brook’s family but hundreds of West Virginia families. Medicaid will be there to support them all as they continue to do their best to raise their children in a healthy environment during these challenging times.
The Health Care for All Campaign is working to propose more Medicaid support and protection during the state legislative session for 2021. Let us continue to advocate and protect this life saving and life-giving programs in policy, elections, and by sharing our health care stories.