The Viola Strikes a Chord
as Medicaid protects a child
Democrats and Republicans are locked in preparations for the 2004 presidential election. A major issue: who can make a better healthcare system. There are a few citizens who still appreciate what we have. I spent the last few weeks getting to know one of these persons, and found that, thanks to government run MEDICAID, health insurance did not have to rule her life. She and her son do not wish to use this plan permanently, but it is a good relief while she finishes college.
By Rebecca Decker

Medicaid Made Easy
Medicaid: Who is Eligible
Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services
NC Department of Health and Human Services
The Viola

Medicaid Made Easy
Medicaid: Who is Eligible
Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Upon doing the research for this interview, I found many people who are uninsured. I find it baffling how many people have to get by without insurance simply because their jobs cannot afford to pay their plans. The cost of technology is, apparently, too much for the working class, and many employers, to afford. Many of the students that I attend school with are not eligible for insurance because so many are too old for their parents' plan. They often are too busy for that wonderful full time job that could provide benefits."


"2 a.m., my son is wheezing, and it sounds worse than the last attack. I have to work early tomorrow, and I stayed up all night working on this project that was due by midnight.

"I know he has to get to the ER tonight though; when it comes to him, I can't make excuses. We get there all right, but I dread that look that I'll get. I'll be standing there holding my baby, in a room overcrowded with patients just dying for a break in life.

"The nurse will say "Ma'am, what kind of insurance do you have?" And I'll smile, because I know I'm covered by the government. "Medicaid." But then she'll look at me with this condescending 'oh' as she waves me off to the back of the room."

My anonymous new friend works near me at the Brody Medical School. We met several times to talk about her family, her life, but mainly, her ventures with medical insurance.

This woman is different than most her age. Just over 35, she has returned to East Carolina University to finish her undergraduate BS in Computer Science.

This is a great accomplishment for most women in this field, especially since she is an African American woman, raising a young boy. He is now nine.

So, you work at least 20 hours a week of part time work, go to class for six credits worth of education, and spend endless hours in labs writing programs for these classes. Naturally most of your time is spent with your son.

How does the money come? Well, so far, no word from the ex-husband. He left at the convenient time, when news of the child first came. She heard recently that the government had finally found him. Since he was out of state he was hard to track, and now if checks come, they are just rare surprises.


Her parents don't really help her out anymore; she knows she is on her own at this point. So when it comes to health care, how is she covered? A part time job doesn't have benefits. In order to get coverage for her son, and for herself, she knew the best way was

Before her son was born, insurance was a bigger issue. If her job had benefits, she might be able to afford them sometimes, or maybe her parents could help her out in emergencies. Usually she just had to go without coverage. Nine years ago, however, she wasn't going to keep taking that chance. While pregnant with her son, she found out that her baby would be eligible for the government program, Medicaid.

Then the work began, after having the baby of course. She was very descriptive about the paper work involved in filing for Medicaid. The average person takes about 30 minutes to fill out the preemptive information in the waiting room, before they will be seen.


She says this filing has to be done each year; because the government has to be sure that she is fully qualified. When she finally gets into the office to see her case worker, the real papers come out. She holds up her hand to indicate that these papers are at least 'one-inch-thick.' Her case worker would ask everything; job, money, health, children, relatives, who would come and leave the house. Eventually they even came to be good friends, just because they knew so much about one another!

This never got to be an ordeal. Medicaid has worked well for this person, because it is much better than the alternative. She doesn't have any horror stories. She just has her, and her son to protect.


In the two times I had seen this woman, not a moment went by when she did NOT talk about her precious son. He is now nine, and is a "brilliant young man, with a promising future" as she says. She has been teaching him to play the
viola, or whatever instrument he can get his hands on.

Music is a way of life for them, and she truly believes it should be for everyone. Their weekends are their only fun time now though, since she is working, and trying to get so much studying done in the afternoons. Her dad and stepmother live relatively close though, so they get to see them whenever she has free time.

Her dad is very kind, and at times has taken care of her son for a weekend off and on, and her son really loves is at the grandparents house. They spoil him. But no one is expected to pay her bills, so she doesn't ask for money. She knows that once she finishes school next year, she will be able to find a real job; one with benefits, and good pay, and she might even be able to get out of Greenville&emdash;the job pit.


She is happy, though. Medicaid pays for 100 percent of any visit she makes to the doctor. She has a copay pay, but it is only $3 when she goes into family practice, or to a doctor. When she has to get a prescription, there is only a $1 copay pay. The plan has to be renewed every year at the government building with her case worker, but, as might only her case, they are good friends now. She hopes to keep the friendship after being off Medicaid. See
Medicaid: Who is Eligible for details on who qualifies for Medicaid.


Many Americans find themselves having to resort to plans like Medicaid, and while it does come out of taxes, it doesn't necessarily drain our wallets.

They understand that it is a limited resource, and most people that find they need it are also trying to find a way out.

However, the greater the cost of technology, and medical cost increases, the fewer the businesses that will be able to provide health insurance to their employees.

Few middle class workers can afford medical insurance on their own. Still no one can go with out.

When did the threat of dying outweigh the cost of living? Maybe we should not all be so worried. Those who are covered can relax, for now at least.


The author of this article, Rebecca Decker, is a senior at East Carolina University in North Carolina. She plans on majoring in Public Relations.


 Copyright ©2004 Rebecca Decker
All Rights Reserved
Citation Permitted Only With Credit