Connor from Alaska is 10 years old. He loves to read, cook, and play with his friends and his service dog, Mac. Connor was born with medical complications and spent the first month of his life in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Later, at the age of eight, his body began swelling from the waist up – his little chest swelled from 28″ to a whopping 44″ within a matter of minutes; his neck and face also swelled. His doctors have not been able to determine the cause of the swelling, which continues to impact Connor’s heart, lungs, brain, cognitive functioning, and motor skills. He forgets words he knows and familiar songs, like the Happy Birthday song. He periodically stumbles, falls, and slurs his words. His oxygen levels drop to dangerously low levels with no warning and he has almost died multiple times. Still, when he is well enough, Connor attends school, where he is in the chorus and basketball club. He stays active in his community and he regularly attends hockey games, plays, and concerts. Connor has responsibilities at home: he feeds his family’s dogs and fish, washes dishes, takes out the garbage, and cooks one meal for the family each week.
Connor’s parents both work and they both have very good health coverage. Yet they still need Medicaid as a supplement for him. Medicaid helps his family pay for his physical and occupational therapy after Connor has exhausted his private insurances and it helps cover co-pays, tests, and medications that aren’t covered by either parents’ plan. Importantly, Medicaid helps Connor travel to see specialists and obtain life-saving tests and treatments that are not available in the state of Alaska.