Watch This: A True Medicaid Story

Joshua Proffitt is a college student at East Georgia State College. He’s made the Dean’s List with a 3.5 GPA, wants to work in radio broadcasting, and has a remarkable ability to predict NASCAR results, earning him the nickname, “The Proffitt.” In five years, Joshua wants to work for a sports radio network.

Joshua also has cerebral palsy. Through Medicaid, Joshua gets daily in-home care from attendants who help with everything from dressing and brushing Joshua’s teeth to taking him to college and taking notes for him. In this video by the  Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Joshua, his parents, and a caregiver describe how Medicaid has made Joshua’s accomplishments possible — and how deep cuts to Medicaid in the Congressional GOP health care bill would jeopardize Joshua’s life and his dreams.

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Block grants or per capita caps, featured in both House and Senate proposed health care bills recently, would dramatically cut federal funding for Medicaid and fundamentally restructure the program to only give states a set amount of money for Medicaid over time, regardless of epidemics, expensive new treatments, or an aging population that needs more medical care. To cope, states will either have to raise taxes or cut services.

Medicaid is how millions of children, adults, and seniors get access to health care, but it’s especially essential for people with disabilities. Medicaid is the primary provider of long-term supports and care for people with disabilities, which private insurance usually doesn’t cover and which most people can’t afford to pay for on their own. But because a block grant or per capita cap means that states would get less federal Medicaid dollars over time, expensive care like the kind that Joshua gets through Medicaid would almost certainly be eliminated. 

When Joshua says, “I can’t be who I am without Medicaid,” he’s not exaggerating. And with 10 million people with disabilities in Joshua’s position nationwide, including tens of thousands in Oklahoma, he’s not the only one.

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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