Living with dignity I think is a Floridian right and certainly the legislature has a commitment to take care of this population and hopefully we will continue to do so. We’re the third largest populated state right now with a large state comes large responsibilities and this is one that we’ve got to take care of.

I was born with Cerebral Palsy which makes my muscles stiff. I use a wheelchair and a walker to get around and I also need help with activities of daily living such as getting dressed, getting in and out of bed and showering. I never believed that I could live away independently away from home. I thought that I would be 80 years old still living with my mom and dad.

When I decided to go away to college I was initially denied by Medicaid all of my caregiving hours. They said that going away to college was a convenience and not a necessity. 

She literally has essential, critical needs that have to be delivered to her in order for her to do a simple thing that you and I do every day.

They pick me up from work, they’ll pack up my computer whatever I need packed up, I also at that point usually use the restroom because it’s been four or five hours since the last time I’ve gone, since I’ve had that last set of care, and then they come home, they help me make

Dinner, they give me a shower, put me in my pajamas, help me wash dishes, prepare meals for the next day, and then they put me into bed.

The truth of it is it’s not just a job, it’s a relationship that someone’s counting on for their survival.

Because I need care in such a unique way I’m forced to use certain programs like Medicaid and unfortunately Medicaid is looped into a poverty loophole where if you make too much money or you have assets then you’re disqualified. So how do we view Medicaid and how do we view that system as not being a system of poverty, but that it actually can benefit people. 

Think about someone in your life who you have had to help. Whether you help them financially, whether you help them personally, whether you had to take care of them. If you couldn’t do it for that person, who would you find to do it that you would trust and how much would you pay them to do it for you.