Prematurity Awareness Month Highlights the Importance of Medicaid

Texas Well and Healthy is pleased to have a new partnership with MomsRising that's allowing us to bring Texas Treatment readers even more stories about why Texas families really need and value good health care. November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and as it comes to a close, we're sharing excerpts of two stories from Texan moms of preemies. Both have special relevance as Washington discusses what to do about the "fiscal cliff."

Barbara Haller, Texas Mom

Kari Anne Roy, Texas Mom

Here is a more of Kari Anne’s story, and why it is so important to hear now as Washington examines budget cuts:

Medicaid and my micro-preemie son

Have you heard the latest news about on the looming fiscal cliff?

While I think we all are committed to a secure financial future for our country, I’m shocked to learn that some members of Congress want to put huge cuts to Medicaid on the table in these negotiations, while insisting that the wealthiest among us cannot let live without their tax breaks.

My family’s story about Medicaid shows how keeping Medicaid strong is not only morally the right thing to do, but also an effective way to keep families on solid economic footing.

My youngest son, Isaac, was born at 28 weeks. That’s 12 weeks early. He spent the first 8 weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit. Very expensive.

As a micro-preemie weighing only 2 pounds 5 ounces, Isaac was at risk for many, many life-threatening challenges. We were lucky, though, that he seemed to dodge bullet after bullet.

However, when he was five-and-half-months old, he caught a cold and abruptly stopped breathing. After receiving chest compressions and being intubated in the pediatric intensive care unit, it was determined that he had a malformation of the trachea. Isaac received a tracheostomy (a tube in his neck so that he could breathe) when he was six months old.

After a month in the hospital, we were allowed to take him home, but only with private duty nursing and enough medical equipment to turn our home into a mini-hospital. Then he underwent surgery to reconstruct his trachea. As a result, he is a fairly typical four year old but the permanent damage to his lungs means that, when sick, he can sometimes require oxygen and always needs close monitoring, whether at home or the hospital.

Our insurance – along with Medicaid (through a waiver program for medically fragile children) – allowed us to have Isaac at home, with nursing care. This allowed my husband and I to work, to pay taxes, to be productive members of society.

My son is a four-year-old who came into this world fighting, and who deserves the same healthy future as every other child. Even just the consideration of having Medicaid on the table for cuts is foolish. Uninsured children are 5 times more likely than insured children to use the emergency room as a regular source of care. (See this fact sheet from First Focus.)

Cutting Medicaid will cause serious damage to families, their financial capabilities, and their children’s health and future livelihoods.

Cross-posted at

- Liz Moskowitz, Texans Care for Children