Gravely Ill Baby Denied Medicaid - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Gravely Ill Baby Denied Medicaid


When she was born, 8-month-old Nadia Rodriguez was like any other baby.

"She was moving, she was holding her head up," Nadia's mother Esperanza Valdez said.

But at 4 months old, Nadia was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA. The disorder means Nadia has no working muscles. She will never sit, crawl, walk or talk.

"When you're expecting your first baby you never imagine for them to be sick, maybe a cold," Valdez said. "But to find out she's never going to be like your normal baby it's very hard it turns your life around."

Nadia must be on a ventilator and under a nurses care almost constantly, something her mother's insurance once paid for. But all that changed after her 23-year-old mother quit her job to be with Nadia full time.

Nadia's father makes around $30,000 a year. His employer, a small lumber company, has a basic insurance plan that apparently won't cover Nadia's expensive medical needs.

The family's $30,000 yearly income is considered too high for the gravely ill baby to receive Social Security disability or Medicaid.

"He could quit his job, we could be on anything but he gets up everyday and goes to work," Valdez said.

FOX 26 Investigates has been trying to help the couple qualify for medicaid and right now things look somewhat promising.

It turns out Nadia could qualify under the Medical Dependent Children's Program. But for that to happen, Nadia would have to be placed in a nursing home, at least temporarily. It could still be days or even weeks before Nadia's parents know for sure their baby qualifies for Medicaid.

"We're not asking for food. We're not asking for money, for housing; We're just asking for her medical needs to be covered; that's all we ask for," Valdez said.

There's no cure for SMA and Nadia's parents realize her future looks grim. Still they said there's no way they can give up hope for their only child.

"We're just hoping she'll live up to that point where once they have the cure she can get the medicine," Nadia's mother said.

Unfortunately, Nadia's plight is just another example of the confusion many families face when navigating through the health care system.

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