Transcript of video:
This young father tells about how our healthcare system requires families to choose poverty in order to access health care.
Hello my name is Greg Mackey. I’m a certified board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). I give you permission to use this story for Health Care Health Oregon.
I was originally an English teacher in Japan and in Hawaii. My son had a diagnosis of autism while we were in Hawaii we couldn’t get the care that we needed. We had to pay out of pocket us $4,000 a month insurance. They didn’t have an insurance mandate so I had to give up my job my wife had to give up her job we actually moved to Missouri where I was from originally and then found a BCBA and we were able to actually utilize some of the stuff there.
But as we progressed we found out that in order for my son to qualify for Medicaid we had to give up everything. We actually had to pay nine thousand dollars out of pocket in Missouri which is better than the four thousand per month in Hawaii where we went to find work. But essentially we had to give up everything in Missouri in order for my son to qualify for Medicaid. Eventually we decided to move to Oregon and enroll him in a school here however what we found is that most parents have to literally give up everything in order to care for their child.
It takes three million dollars (1997 dollars) to care for a child on the autism spectrum for their entire life. There’s been a study for single-mothers who actually had the same stress level as soldiers in combat and severe post-traumatic stress disorder. They’re literally engaged with their child all the time these mothers are having to like us give up everything in order to qualify for help but once you give up everything you’re stuck within a system until that child is 18 and introduced to the system permanently. By that time the parents are then having to pay for stuff beyond that and what do they have left for retirement, what do they have for housing?
These are drastic measures and it happens all the time. It’s something that’s not spoken about and it’s not spoken about because these are kids and adults who don’t have anybody fending for them. This is one of those things that literally happens all the time. I’m working with families now there’s a tremendous amount of suffering there’s a tremendous amount of stress and something needs to be done so for us for our democracy. What is the measure of ourselves? So there’s more to be said there’s more to be done and please help.
Interview February 26, 2018 Beaverton, Oregon by Mike Huntington MD