My name is Juan Carlos Vázquez. I am 16 years old. On November 19,2007 I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I was 8 years old. I was hospitalized and put in ICU for three days. This year changed my mother’s outlook on the importance of having good health insurance.
If my father would have had no health insurance who knows what kind of treatment I would have received. I was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital where I was treated and provided with the top Endocrinologist in the state of Florida. My mother and I were given courses there on the care and treatment of my illness. My father’s health insurance paid for my hospitalization and medications with low deductibles. The beginning of the following year I was put on an Insulin Pump which the insurance paid including the monthly pump supplies. The Insulin Pump takes 3 bottles insulin each month.
In 2009, when the economy took a toll, both my parents lost their jobs and I was put on Medicaid because of my illness. I was young but I saw the frustration on my mother’s face when Medicaid denied my pump [ supplies. According to the State it was considered a “Luxury” to have the Insulin Pump and my mother was to pay out of her pocket If I was to continue this style of living. My poor mother was floored to the ground. She had no choice but to put me back on taking Insulin injections. When a Non-Diabetic thinks injection, first thing that comes out their mouth “it’s only a couple of shots”. Wrong. I was on two types of Insulin, A slow acting Insulin which was taking twice a day. That’s 2 injections. I eat 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks in between. A snack before I go to bed to keep my blood glucose from dropping. I check my sugar before I eat and give myself injections. So that’s a total of 6 injections. Then 2 hours after I eat I have to check my sugar again. If my blood glucose is not in my range I would have to bolus and give myself more insulin. So my average daily injections were between 8-16. According to the state having an Insulin Pump was a luxury? I changed my sites every 3 days and it was less psychological damage. I was only 10 years old at the time not 50. Being on Medicaid does not allow a child at any age receive good health care. I remember when my mother would ask a new doctor’s office if they took Medicaid, it was if I had the Plaque. I remember a time when I had to go to the local Emergency Room when my blood glucose was high due an ear infection. (Illness cause your Blood Glucose to soar) I was throwing up and I had developed ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis can actually lead to a person in a coma and even death. The Intake Nurse asked my mother what type of insurance we had, and of course she said Medicaid. After taking more information from my mother she told her to have a seat. My mother told her I was diabetic and that children with Diabetes are seen right away especially when they develop ketoacidosis. The nurse told her to go have a seat that we had Medicaid and children with real insurance are seen first. My mother saw red that day and went across the desk ready to throttle her. Another nurse had to separate my mother and took us in right away then after care and treatment I was released. My mother was in tears and I remember her saying if we would have had regular insurance this would of never happened. A few months later my mother found a job that provided decent health insurance. I was put back on the Insulin Pump and till this day I still wear one. My mother explained to me that a lot of people do not seem to realize the difference between State Provided Insurance and Private Insurance. With Private Insurance you can pick and choose where you want to go. What type of treatment you can receive the right medications not the generic brands that Medicaid provide. You can go to your own pharmacy. See your own doctor and specialists. The list goes on. You’re not humiliated in any type of way. Having Diabetes and having Medicaid has it downfalls. One, you don’t get the proper care or treatment. Two, you lose a lot of school. I was hospitalized 5 times while I was on Medicaid and was held back, I missed a lot of school. Unfortunately, because I was 15 years old when I was in 8th grade I was aged out of school. I went on to an Alternative School and received my GED/ Diploma this past June. These are my reason why Insurance is so Important to me. You get the proper care for any illness you have. I’ve seen mother humiliated because of the type of insurance we had. I missed a lot of school and will not enjoy my high school years. I never went to prom, never went to any football games, I missed a lot and I will not wish this on nobody.