Erik Paulsen Puts The Lives Of Disabled Kids At Risk

A powerful article published this week in City Pages takes aim at Rep. Erik Paulsen’s healthcare record, and the portrait it paints is troubling.

The article, written by Cory Zurowski, describes the plight of Hilary and Lemar Gilbreath, whose son Logan was born six weeks early and weighed less than three pounds. As he grew, he was diagnosed with host of medical conditions-spina bifidia, sensory processing disorder, and autism. The combined effect meant that Logan had trouble walking, communicating, and learning.

Though both Hilary and Lemar had decent jobs, Logan’s treatment and medical expenses added up quickly. As Zurowski writes, “One MRI can cost $31,000. Logan’s autism day school runs $800 per week. Twice-weekly therapy sessions ring in at $200 a pop.”

The Gilbreaths had insurance, too, but they quickly hit their coverage limits. “We were paying out-of-pocket,” Hilary says. “Our coverage for things like occupational and speech therapy and programs within his day treatment didn’t last very long. When it comes to a child like Logan who needs intensive therapy, there were these big gaps of what is covered by insurance and what is patient responsibility…. We knew there was no way we were going to be able to make this work.”

Fortunately, the Gilbreaths discovered TEFRA, a medical assistance program administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The program allows kids with disabilities to get the care they need when their parents earn too much to qualify for other state medical programs, but still can’t afford the necessary care.

TEFRA was made possible by Obamacare, but if Paulsen has his way, the program could be abolished along with the rest of Obamacare. That scares Hilary Glibreath, a five-time Paulsen voter. “I’m afraid the whole program would be gone,” she said. “My biggest fears are his spinal surgery wouldn’t be covered. His autism treatment wouldn’t be covered. That we wouldn’t be able to afford therapy and his special ed programs. It’s the most terrifying thought to think your child won’t get the help they need.

“If I could meet Congressman Paulsen in person, I would have him look into Logan’s eyes and have him tell him, ‘You’re not worth it.’”

Head over to City Pages to read the full piece.

Featured image via YouTube.

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