Letters to the Editor as seen in the Springfield News-Leader

June 27th, 2020

Medicaid ensures people get health care regardless of financial situation

As a nurse, I don’t look to see how my patients are paying for their care before treating them. It doesn’t affect the care I provide. However, I can tell when they don’t have quality insurance like Medicaid. I know because my patients are often worried about how they will pay. When they should be worried about their health and getting back on their feet, they are often worried about the bills they know are coming. I’ve had patients refuse physical therapy for fear of the cost. I’ve had elderly ladies try to hand me dollar bills for their prescriptions and apologize if it isn’t enough. I’ve had patients tell me that no matter what the consequences are, they cannot take their new medications because they cannot afford them.

In rural counties, there is a lack of adequate health care resources. Many rural areas rely on just one rural health center or hospital for the entire county for all health care needs. Medicaid payments keep these few remaining rural hospitals and health care centers open and able to see patients who have no other options for their health care needs. Without Medicaid, these health care centers and rural hospitals would certainly close, costing small communities jobs they can scarcely afford to do without and leaving rural folks and impoverished communities without access to health care.

Medicaid gives patients living in poverty access to primary care and maternal care. It allows poor children to see a doctor and be immunized to go to school. It helps patients with disabilities live more fulfilling lives and access care in their homes. It helps keep rural hospitals and care centers open and protects those jobs. Medicaid keeps my patients healthy and leads to better outcomes. Medicaid is vital to my patients and our state.

Sam McAninch RN, BSN, CCRN, critical care nurse, Ozark