This Is What Happens When People With Diabetes Lose Medicaid
In 2003, Jose Sanchez was a recent graduate just starting out in the world, hustling to get his graphic design business off the ground. Then, one day, his life changed.
“I went to take a nap and then I didn’t wake up for two days,” he said. “When I woke up, I looked like the Matrix. I had all these tubes coming out of me.”
Sanchez discovered he had Type 1 diabetes only after he had fallen into diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition. His story is a reminder of what many diabetics went through in the years before the Affordable Care Act, and what many could face again if it’s rolled back.
Because he had very little income at the time, Sanchez was able to qualify for New York State’s Medicaid program. Between changing his diet and lifestyle and getting insulin and other health care through Medicaid, he managed to stay relatively healthy after the incident.
Eventually, he found stable employment and had a son. But then another disaster hit. In 2007, he learned that his job—working nights at Abercrombie & Fitch, prepping the store for the morning crowds—paid just a little too much for him to continue to qualify for Medicaid.
“That’s when I found out the true cost of being a diabetic,” he said.
Without insurance, insulinrefillsalone cost him $225 every three weeks. Diapers, food and milk for his son came first, so he rationed the medication and ended up in the emergency room over and over again, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills he had no way to pay on his salary.
“I would end up being in the hospital for a weeklong vi Continue reading