Story Bank: Lynnea, Lewiston

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Lynnea, Lewiston

What kinds of struggles have you seen in your community among your neighbors?

A: "I've seen young single moms just trying to wrangle their kids. I've seen grandparents who never see their grandkids but still have to go and do things, that need help getting up and down stairs. I've seen families where mom and dad are working their tails off, but they're still struggling."

How long have you been without health insurance?

A: "I've been without health insurance for a little over a year now, inching towards a year-and-a-half. I had a good job that gave me a stipend to help with health insurance but my pay was just enough to make me ineligible for MaineCare. My stipend wasn't enough to cover insurance. It would cover about half of it. So, I was in that place where I could get it, but I couldn't afford it and I am still kind of stuck their right now."

Do you have any medical conditions that require treatment?

A: "I have a tooth that started going bad last fall and when it first started, it was excruciating. Just eating was not happening. It hurt too much to even think about eating. Anything hot or cold was just incredibly painful, nonetheless chewing. The nerves are now dead, but it's still tender so if I chew on that side of my mouth, it hurts. What gets to me is knowing that I could do something about it, but I can't afford to and someone, somewhere has decided that I don't deserve health insurance. I'm somehow unworthy to get my health issue dealt with. That's what kills me. It's the thought that I'm not good enough."

How has lack of health insurance impacted you?

A: "So, I try to be very careful about what I eat, how much I eat, when I eat just to make sure that I'm not pushing myself towards diabetes. I'm honestly a little afraid of what my first conversation with the doctor is going to be."

Why is Medicaid important to you?

A: "I don't feel that your health should ever be a question. You should not have to ask yourself, 'Do I eat for the next two days or do I go to a doctor?' No one should ever have to decide between paying their copay or feeding their children."