Health

Trump Voter With Cerebral Palsy Fears GOP Health Plan

| by Michael Allen
Empty WheelchairEmpty Wheelchair

Bradley Ledgerwood, a Republican supporter of President Donald Trump in Cash, Arkansas, is worried the new GOP health care plan will cut his Medicaid.

The 36-year-old man, who has cerebral palsy, is also worried his legal aid may be cut, notes The Washington Post.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the House GOP plan includes cuts to Medicaid and would result in 23 million uninsured Americans by 2026, while the GOP Senate plan has deeper cuts to Medicaid over a longer period of time, and would result in 22 million Americans without health insurance in the same time period, reported The New York Times.

Ledgerwood is active in the Northeast Arkansas Political Animals lunch club and the Craighead County Republican Committee.

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Ledgerwood, who was diagnosed at age 2 with cerebral palsy, needs assistance to eat, walk, stand, bathe and use the bathroom.

 "My mom and dad are basically my hands and feet," he told The Washington Post.

Ledgerwood's mom quit her job to care for her son under a Medicaid program that pays her for 56 hours of care per week that she puts in.

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In 2016, the Arkansas Department of Human Services suddenly cut those paid hours in half even though Ledgerwood's medical needs stayed the same.

Health department officials said a new computer algorithm decided that Ledgerwood did not need that much care. Other disabled people in the predominantly Republican state were hit by the same cuts.

Ledgerwood's mom thought about going back to work, and placing her adult son in a nursing home.

"That would destroy my life," he said.

Ledgerwood says institutionalization would cost the state of Arkansas much more than paying his mom to care for him.

Ledgerwood and six other people with disabilities sued the state and won, thanks to Legal Aid of Arkansas, which is funded by grants from the Legal Services Corporation, a government-funded nonprofit that helps about 2 million poor people with legal issues.

The state of Arkansas has appealed the ruling.

Trump's proposed budget, released in March, called for ending the Legal Services Corporation, and the Republican-controlled House appropriations subcommittee proposed cutting the funding from $385 million to $300 million.

Ledgerwood said he still supports Trump, who reminds him of former President Ronald Reagan, who proposed cutting Medicaid in 1981, reports The New York Times. Reagan also wanted to give states more control over Medicaid funding, which is what Arkansas used to cut payments for Ledgerwood and the others.

Ledgerwood says his support for Trump and the Republicans may change if the government services that he personally needs are cut.

"If I lose my lawyer and my services, I may feel a little differently."

Sources: The Washington Post, The New York Times (2) / Photo credit: Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuno/Flickr, Clfekete/Wikimedia Commons (2)

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