Paulette Steele is 48 years old and lives on the West Side of Denver. She moved to Denver in 1982 to work at Fitzsimmons Army Base and, in 2010, was seriously injured in a car accident on her way to the base. She can no longer work due to the lasting effects of her back injury. After becoming unemployed, she took over the care of her grandchildren during the day while her children are at work or school.
Why is Medicaid important to you?
"I rely on Medicaid to pay for my numerous visits to the doctor and for my prescriptions. I believe that the only reason I'm still able to walk is because of the ongoing treatment and medication I have been able to get through Medicaid. I can live pain-free because I have access to health care, which I wouldn't have without Medicaid. After the accident and before I had Medicaid, I couldn't find a doctor that would see me because I didn't have insurance."
What would happen to you or your family if you lost your Medicaid coverage?
"Without Medicaid, I would be paying about $100 per visit to the doctor and there is no way I could afford this - especially since I'm now on a fixed income."
Do you think Medicaid has had an important impact on your neighborhood or community in general?
"Nearly everyone I know in the neighborhood is on Medicaid. People around here can't afford much, but at least they know they have health care. Medicaid is really important for my community, especially for the kids who shouldn't have to suffer just because they're poor. We're in a bad recession and we should be doing everything we can to help people right now, not cut things that people need."