Story Bank: Leisa, Livermore Falls

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Leisa, Livermore Falls

At 37 years old, Leisa lost her job when Carleton Woolen Mills in Winthrop closed its doors. With her job, Leisa lost her health insurance which covered her four children, one of whom is living with autism.

While she was employed at Carleton, Leisa underwent gastric bypass surgery to help manage her medical challenges. The surgery helped to reduce her use of insulin for her diabetes, but she soon faced other challenges. When she lost her health insurance, she could no longer afford yearly wellness exams and appointments with her nutritionist.

Her family enrolled in MaineCare. But when her children turned 18, she lost that coverage, too. Since then, her diabetes has not been properly monitored. Consequently, she lost vision in one eye and has had to undergo costly corrective laser surgery. All the while, Leisa was working as a full-time, unpaid caregiver for her mom who was also struggling to have her health care needs met. The care Leisa provided allowed her mom to stay at home instead of going to a long-term care facility.

Leisa is thousands of dollars in medical debt and requires further surgery to regain her vision. This isn’t likely to happen because she simply cannot afford it. The necessary medical care she needs to maintain her health is also out of the question. For now, she must go without preventive, routine screenings.

Leisa now works part-time as a cashier, and although the income is helping her keep afloat, her job does not provide health care and she still cannot afford the health care she needs. She looks forward to Medicaid expansion, when her health care challenges will be monitored, and her needs will be met.