East Texas discuss concerns about potential Medicaid cuts - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texas discuss concerns about potential Medicaid cuts

(Source: KLTV Staff) (Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff) (Source: KLTV Staff)

East Texans are voicing their concerns about looming cuts to Medicaid.

Saturday, a panel of health experts hosted a town hall-style forum and discussed the proposed U.S. Senate Health Care Bill to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act.

One by one, East Texans shared stories of how their lives and the lives of their loved ones have been impacted by Medicaid.

Mother of nine LeAnn Sewell said Medicaid is vital for her family as they are caring for children with special needs.

"Four of them are going to depend on aid for the rest of their lives," Sewell said.

With the dozens of costs surrounding each child, the proposed cuts to Medicaid in the most recent draft of the Senate's Health Care Bill.

Sewell is worried about how she will be able to take care of her family.

"We live in a home, we own a home I don't know if we'd have to sell our home I don't know what he would do," Sewell said.

Pediatrician Valerie Smith says 70 percent of the people who are on Medicaid are children. The rest are the disabled or elderly.

"So when we are talking about who cutting Medicaid is going to hurt, it's the most vulnerable people in our society. It’s our children, our elderly and our disabled," Smith said.

After discussion, they took action recording video messages to send to Senator’s John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.

"They say their phones aren't ringing, let's make sure their phones do ring," said caretaker Shirley Layton.

It's not just leaders they want to reach, they hope their stories will offer a different perspective to East Texans.

"Before you make a decision about an entire population in the state of Texas please get to know someone who is actually having to use those service," Sewell said.

As of February 2017, 4.5 million Texans are enrolled in Medicaid.

3.4 million of those enrolled are children.

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