FREE SPEECH ZONE | Health Care Reform and Our Disability Community

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I appreciate the opportunity to share my health care concerns. I live with chronic illness, disabilities and am a breast cancer survivor. I am especially concerned about the Health Care needs of the Disability Community.

I passionately support efforts that will create a health care system that covers all Americans, ends pre-existing condition exclusions, eliminates lifetime caps on benefits, curbs costs responsibly, and ensures respect for all.

My doctor prescribes medications for me, and the meds give me side effects. Several prescriptions cause dry mouth, which promotes tooth decay. Also, my cancer radiation treatments caused more damage to my teeth and gums. Bad news – my back teeth started crumbling.  My health care team searched for a good sedation dentist for a year and a half. Many dentists wouldn’t take my case due to the low compensation rate through my Medical Assistance (MA) coverage.

The last MA dentist I saw told me I needed 4 or 5 teeth pulled. When I objected, he said they might be able to just pull three teeth. My parents couldn’t take watching my mouth fall apart anymore. They paid for me to see their dentist, and she restored 6 of my teeth.

One tooth could not be saved. My nurses at AXIS Healthcare helped me see a great MA sedation dentist to get the tooth pulled. Unfortunately this dentist only pulls teeth, so I still need to find a good primary dentist.

I have read that Governor Pawlenty is balancing the Minnesota state budget by cutting services. I understand he is cutting dental services for people on Medical Assistance – along with other cuts to health care for those on MA.

A couple of my friends have suggested new legislation:  All practicing dentists would be required to take a small percentage of MA patients. For example, perhaps 1% of their clients would have MA.

I’m grateful that I receive Social Security Disability, Medical Assistance, and Medicare. I’m also very worried about cuts to Health Care programs for myself, friends and family members.

All Americans deserve to have high quality health care, and I want to stand up and be counted on the issues. A few steps that I have taken recently:

I watched President Obama’s online Forum on August 20th to inspire health care reform – 280,000 Organizing for America supporters gathered to participate.  Remember one thing: Nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change, said the President. To view a recording of the Forum: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hcphoneboothhost.  

I attended a Telephone Town Hall meeting with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar on August 23rd.              Ten thousand Minnesotans joined the call to discuss Health Care Reform. To hear the recording: http://klobuchar.senate.gov/telehall.cfm

 

I recently joined the MN Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD) Healthcare Reform Committee, which works on health reform issues and how they will affect the disability community in MN. To learn more about this committee, please contact Anni Simons. (Anni Simons, Coalition Coordinator, MN-CCD:  ASimons@arcmn.org )

I committed to attend an MN-CCD 2009 Disability Matters Town Hall Forum this fall.  I’m excited for the opportunity to talk about my Health Care concerns. The forums offer a place to advocate for ourselves. We can speak directly to legislators about our challenges and successes. The forums will cover a wide range of disability issues. For more information: http://www.mnccd.org/    (Click on MN-CCD 2009 Disability Matters Town Hall Forums).

Thanks,

Nancy Sopkowiak

Maple Lake, Minnesota

Weblog:  http://HopeAbility.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 1, 2009

I appreciate the opportunity to share my health care concerns. I live with chronic illness, disabilities and am a breast cancer survivor. I am especially concerned about the Health Care needs of the Disability Community.

I passionately support efforts that will create a health care system that covers all Americans, ends pre-existing condition exclusions, eliminates lifetime caps on benefits, curbs costs responsibly, and ensures respect for all.

My doctor prescribes medications for me, and the meds give me side effects. Several prescriptions cause dry mouth, which promotes tooth decay. Also, my cancer radiation treatments caused more damage to my teeth and gums. Bad news – my back teeth started crumbling.  My health care team searched for a good sedation dentist for a year and a half. Many dentists wouldn’t take my case due to the low compensation rate through my Medical Assistance (MA) coverage.

The last MA dentist I saw told me I needed 4 or 5 teeth pulled. When I objected, he said they might be able to just pull three teeth. My parents couldn’t take watching my mouth fall apart anymore. They paid for me to see their dentist, and she restored 6 of my teeth.

One tooth could not be saved. My nurses at AXIS Healthcare helped me see a great MA sedation dentist to get the tooth pulled. Unfortunately this dentist only pulls teeth, so I still need to find a good primary dentist.

I have read that Governor Pawlenty is balancing the Minnesota state budget by cutting services. I understand he is cutting dental services for people on Medical Assistance – along with other cuts to health care for those on MA.

A couple of my friends have suggested new legislation:  All practicing dentists would be required to take a small percentage of MA patients. For example, perhaps 1% of their clients would have MA.

I’m grateful that I receive Social Security Disability, Medical Assistance, and Medicare. I’m also very worried about cuts to Health Care programs for myself, friends and family members.

All Americans deserve to have high quality health care, and I want to stand up and be counted on the issues. A few steps that I have taken recently:

I watched President Obama’s online Forum on August 20th to inspire health care reform – 280,000 Organizing for America supporters gathered to participate.  Remember one thing: Nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change, said the President. To view a recording of the Forum: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hcphoneboothhost.  

I attended a Telephone Town Hall meeting with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar on August 23rd.              Ten thousand Minnesotans joined the call to discuss Health Care Reform. To hear the recording: http://klobuchar.senate.gov/telehall.cfm

 

I recently joined the MN Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD) Healthcare Reform Committee, which works on health reform issues and how they will affect the disability community in MN. To learn more about this committee, please contact Anni Simons. (Anni Simons, Coalition Coordinator, MN-CCD:  ASimons@arcmn.org )

I committed to attend an MN-CCD 2009 Disability Matters Town Hall Forum this fall.  I’m excited for the opportunity to talk about my Health Care concerns. The forums offer a place to advocate for ourselves. We can speak directly to legislators about our challenges and successes. The forums will cover a wide range of disability issues. For more information: http://www.mnccd.org/    (Click on MN-CCD 2009 Disability Matters Town Hall Forums).

Thanks,

Nancy Sopkowiak

Maple Lake, Minnesota

Weblog:  http://HopeAbility.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 1, 2009

I appreciate the opportunity to share my health care concerns. I live with chronic illness, disabilities and am a breast cancer survivor. I am especially concerned about the Health Care needs of the Disability Community.

I passionately support efforts that will create a health care system that covers all Americans, ends pre-existing condition exclusions, eliminates lifetime caps on benefits, curbs costs responsibly, and ensures respect for all.

My doctor prescribes medications for me, and the meds give me side effects. Several prescriptions cause dry mouth, which promotes tooth decay. Also, my cancer radiation treatments caused more damage to my teeth and gums. Bad news – my back teeth started crumbling.  My health care team searched for a good sedation dentist for a year and a half. Many dentists wouldn’t take my case due to the low compensation rate through my Medical Assistance (MA) coverage.

The last MA dentist I saw told me I needed 4 or 5 teeth pulled. When I objected, he said they might be able to just pull three teeth. My parents couldn’t take watching my mouth fall apart anymore. They paid for me to see their dentist, and she restored 6 of my teeth.

One tooth could not be saved. My nurses at AXIS Healthcare helped me see a great MA sedation dentist to get the tooth pulled. Unfortunately this dentist only pulls teeth, so I still need to find a good primary dentist.

I have read that Governor Pawlenty is balancing the Minnesota state budget by cutting services. I understand he is cutting dental services for people on Medical Assistance – along with other cuts to health care for those on MA.

A couple of my friends have suggested new legislation:  All practicing dentists would be required to take a small percentage of MA patients. For example, perhaps 1% of their clients would have MA.

I’m grateful that I receive Social Security Disability, Medical Assistance, and Medicare. I’m also very worried about cuts to Health Care programs for myself, friends and family members.

All Americans deserve to have high quality health care, and I want to stand up and be counted on the issues. A few steps that I have taken recently:

I watched President Obama’s online Forum on August 20th to inspire health care reform – 280,000 Organizing for America supporters gathered to participate.  Remember one thing: Nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change, said the President. To view a recording of the Forum: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hcphoneboothhost.  

I attended a Telephone Town Hall meeting with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar on August 23rd.              Ten thousand Minnesotans joined the call to discuss Health Care Reform. To hear the recording: http://klobuchar.senate.gov/telehall.cfm

 

I recently joined the MN Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD) Healthcare Reform Committee, which works on health reform issues and how they will affect the disability community in MN. To learn more about this committee, please contact Anni Simons. (Anni Simons, Coalition Coordinator, MN-CCD:  ASimons@arcmn.org )

I committed to attend an MN-CCD 2009 Disability Matters Town Hall Forum this fall.  I’m excited for the opportunity to talk about my Health Care concerns. The forums offer a place to advocate for ourselves. We can speak directly to legislators about our challenges and successes. The forums will cover a wide range of disability issues. For more information: http://www.mnccd.org/    (Click on MN-CCD 2009 Disability Matters Town Hall Forums).

Thanks,

Nancy Sopkowiak

Maple Lake, Minnesota

Weblog:  http://HopeAbility.wordpress.com/