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A medical lifeline |

A medical lifeline

| Sunday, April 6, 2014 9:00 p.m

I have two part-time jobs. I work as a dispatcher for a local police department and as a security guard at a high school. I also have three illnesses: Type 1 diabetes, a digestive and autoimmune disorder called Celiac disease and an intestinal disorder called microscopic colitis.

Oftentimes, the only foods that I’m able to eat are very expensive. For instance, a loaf of gluten-free bread costs around $5 to $7 and a bag of a half-dozen gluten-free dinner rolls costs about $6.79. Companies will charge these prices because they know that you will buy these items.

I’m a student at CCAC studying to become a registered dietetic technician so that I can help others who have these and other illnesses make healthful eating choices.

I am also on MAWD (Medical Assistance for Workers with Disability), which allows disabled individuals to earn money without losing health insurance. Without MAWD, I would have no health insurance. I do not earn enough money to afford COBRA health insurance, which is about $800 a month, but I make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid. Without MAWD, my elderly parents, who are on Social Security, would have to help pay for the pills I need (which cost about $1,000 a month) as well as my diabetic testing supplies and insulin. This would be quite a hardship for them, but at least I have parents who are willing to help me.

If Gov. Corbett’s Healthy PA program passes and there is no Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania, MAWD will be eliminated. I have a family that can help me, but what will happen to those who don’t?

Debra Spirko


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