Nicole has lived in central Denver all of her life. She is raising her three children, ages 9, 5, and 2, on her own. She is a stay-at-home mother who is also studying computer information systems. Nicole's daughter was diagnosed with asthma when she was four and also has an astigmatism that was caught early thanks to Medicaid. Having glasses and proper eye care has helped her daughter in school-she is now on student council and receiving academic awards.
Why is Medicaid important to you?
"Medicaid is the only way that I'm able to keep my kids healthy. I can't imagine how it would be without it. Whenever my little son is sick or has a fever for more than two days, I can go to the doctor and don't have to be guessing what's wrong with him and get something over the counter. And keeping him up-to-date with his shots is required for daycare and school."
How has Medicaid benefitted you or your family?
"My daughter was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma when she was four and had to take Albuterol with an inhaler for a year. That was really expensive; it was like $98 every month. Thank God I had Medicaid or I would have had to pay that out of pocket and I wouldn't have known how to. The steroids were able to help her to the point where she doesn't need anything now, which is terrific. She's all healthy and happy now and running around without coughing."
What would happen to you or your family if you lost your Medicaid coverage?
"I probably would try home remedies. If they got severely sick, I really wouldn't know what to do."
What would you say to people who claim that our state can't afford to pay for Medicaid anymore?
"Imagine yourself in my position. You're struggling to feed your kids and you have to worry about your kids' health on top of that. Feel that stress and worry about what you're going to do if your kids get sick and you're not able to help them, which I would feel without Medicaid. Walk in my shoes just for a day. Medicaid is really important and you can't just snatch that away - it's like pulling the rug out from under us."