Medi-Cal – California’s Medicaid program serving half of the state’s children – is a lifeline for millions of people across the state. And if changes to Medicaid proposed by Congressional Republicans are implemented, health coverage for 5.2 million California children would be at risk. Among those, are the nine children of Luz Sanchez.
The 46-year-old single mother is scared when she thinks about what losing Medi-Cal could do to her and her family. The security of knowing that her children – ranging in age from 4 to 19 – have access to quality health coverage provides peace of mind.
When Luz talks about what Medi-Cal has already done for her and her family, her voice becomes soft.
In March 2013, Luz suffered a debilitating stroke. She was hospitalized for three months and underwent six months of physical rehabilitation and speech therapy – all paid for through Medi-Cal.
“I had to learn how to walk, to speak and how to move all over again. Everything was hard. I am used to being the heart of the family … My baby was five months old, I didn’t even recognize my baby when they brought her to the hospital.”
It took a year for her begin feeling like herself again. But even today, some things are still difficult. Luz struggles to read and write, labors to find the right words to express herself and people have to explain things twice sometimes.
For these reasons, she sees her doctor every month, and a neurologist every six months.
“I don’t know what I would do without Medi-Cal,” she said, adding that she probably would not be able to communicate her story today if wasn’t for the health services she received through the program.
Without Medi-Cal, her visits to the doctor would have to stop and she is unsure how she would be able to afford health care for herself or her children if they get sick. Her $16,000 household income is already stretched and not enough to meet the current needs of her 10-member family unit.
Caring for seven children at home – two are in college – Luz does not have the time to keep up on the current events and what is happening with repeal efforts of the Affordable Care Act and proposals to drastically cut Medicaid. But she does have to time pray. Her children and her faith are the only thing that keeps her going these days.
“Miracles happen every day.”