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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Real Voices: Your Weekly Dose from the HCFA Helpline

Real Voices: Your Weekly Dose from the HCFA Helpline

December 7, 2008

Every week we highlight the voices of real people that contact our Helpline every day. Once a week you will be introduced to a family whose life has changed for the better due to health reform. If you or anyone you know needs assistance applying for free or low-cost health care coverage, please contact our Helpline online, or call 1-800-272-4232. Here’s this week’s story:

Patricia, who is an unemployed 28-year-old woman, had her pre-natal treatment under Healthy Start which is a MassHealth program for pregnant women. She was pregnant and like all mothers, she didn’t want anything bad happening to her baby. But Patricia had extra cause for concern as her first born baby girl died during the first month of life. Thanks to MassHealth Patricia received all the best care during this important period of her life.

Her son Marcus was born about three years ago, and as soon as he had his foot exam, a routine test for all babies, the doctors diagnosed him as being galactosemic.

Soon after she learned all about the disorder, and started to give him all the best care necessary to keep him alive. Marcus is unable to produce an enzyme and because of this he accumulates galactose into his body. It can cause serious complications and in untreated infants, with death rates as high as 75%. Patricia has no words to express the value MassHealth and Health Care for All represents to her family’s life. Her son has all the resources necessary to treat his health condition. He gets to go to the hospital every three months to check on his metabolism, nutrition and brain development.

Patricia is in constant contact with doctors and health related professionals who assist her with everything she needs during the growth of her child. She is also always in touch with the Helpline which assists her with renewing their MassHealth plan and helping them with other health-related problems. She truly appreciates the opportunity for health insurance that Massachusetts residents are offered by state programs as well as the wonderful work Health Care For All does that she can always count on. This is what she had to say:

“My child has a very delicate problem which needs really good care. He has diet restrictions. Marcus can’t eat certain food that contains milk, cheese, butter, and sugar. We have been receiving all the assistance necessary since the moment he was born, and it is all crucial because galactosemic children have a high risk of death, especially before five years old. Being surrounded by of all of these professionals is just a present in our lives."

Monika Lira Malhoit