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Houston-area families address Medicaid on Capitol Hill

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Several patients from Texas traveled with their families to Washington D.C. to join forces with Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day, along with Texas Children's Hospital and the Children's Hospital Association, to speak out about how they were helped by Medicaid. They are both medical miracles who needed help from the government to get the treatment that saved their lives. Now they're concerned about possible Medicaid cuts and urging lawmakers to reconsider cuts. They're hard-working people, who had to deal with catastrophic health problems and needed to be supplemented by Medicaid.

"Our goal is to accomplish awareness about how important our lives are and the fact that Medicaid can help protect vulnerable lives. I was one of those cases. I'm a meningitis survivor, and if I didn't have my Medicaid Insurance, I don't know where I would've been," says Jamie Schanbaum. She's a college student who contracted a deadly form of meningococcal septicemia.

Because of her illness, doctors had to amputate her fingers and both of her legs to save her life. Schanbaum spent seven months in the hospital, and then her prosthetics cost tens of thousands of dollars, so Medicaid helped her a lot. She says can't imagine others not getting equal care and financial help from Medicaid.

Schanbaum has been super successful trying to protect others from Meningitis. Because of her efforts, a bill passed to get college students vaccinated against Meningitis.

"I definitely think there was progress with what my family & I were able to do. At first, I asked - why me, while in the hospital. I came out of it and said why does this have to happen to others," explains Schanbaum.

Audrina Cardenas also traveled to Washington, D.C. with her family. She was born with one-third of her heart outside of her body at Texas Children's Hospital.

"It took a risky life-saving surgery to be able to have her here with us today. without medicaid to cover the cost, she might not be with us to see her eight months later," explains Audrina's mother, Ashley. She's happy to be in front of lawmakers, trying to make a difference for her daughter and others.

"I hope we made a big impact on their life. To show them Audrina's heart beating outside her chest. She had a 10% survival rate," said Ashley. "Most babies don't make it past three days old and to see her at eight months today, I think we opened the eyes of why Medicaid is so important."

Even as the Affordable Care Act is implemented, 40 percent of all children will still need Medicaid for specialized pediatric care, similar to what baby Audrina and Jamie needed.

For more information: www.childrenshospitals.net, www.facebook.com/speaknowforkids, thejamiegroup.org

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