At Baltimore town hall, defending Medicaid | WYPR

At Baltimore town hall, defending Medicaid

May 16, 2017

Rep. Elijah Cummings addresses the audience at Monday's town hall meeting in Baltimore.
Credit Rachel Baye

Several dozen people defended Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act Monday night at a town hall at the Greater Baltimore Urban League. Maryland congressmen Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes, both Democrats, listened as person after person shared personal health stories.

One of these stories came from 63-year-old Dean Dodson. He said he is an independent contractor, and as a result, he didn’t have health insurance for a couple years. One day he went to the doctor for stomach pain.

“He said, ‘Well, Dean, you ain’t got no insurance, so just take some aspirin and keep it going,’” Dodson recalled. “I was accepted to the ACA under Medicare. And I went to the doctor’s, and they said I had gallstones.”

Dodson was later diagnosed with liver disease. Without insurance, his medication would have cost $25,000 for 28 pills.

Others shared similar stories. One man said he used to be homeless, and without Medicaid, he could not afford his Hepatitis C drugs. A woman with Cerebral Palsy said she would be homeless without her Medicaid coverage.

Cummings said the stories reminded the lawmakers what they are fighting for in Washington.

“We’ve got to remind people when they talk about statistics, those are real people,” he told the crowd.