Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Alex Needs Your Help - Please!

I've been writing for two years about my son Alex's battle with cancer. I've shared the many ways that Alex's autism complicates his treatment and how he lives every day with cancer.

Today I write with a different purpose. I am writing about how the proposed changes to healthcare will impact Alex. I am hoping that this blog post will reach further than any other I've written. If you are reading this and you are concerned about the current state of healthcare and anxious to see changes, I desperately hope you will take the time to read this. Perhaps learning about Alex's story will help give a face to this issue. Alex, and thousands of other people, need our help.

The Trump administration plans to convert Medicaid into a block grant program, and it seems that they intend to do it quickly. It is highly likely that this change will result in reductions of benefits and access to healthcare. Alex's treatment is costly, and if he is denied coverage and cannot continue his treatments, he will die.

This isn't a game, or a discussion of political ideology, this is life or death.

I ask that you simply contact your representative and ask that they slow the process down to fully understand its impact. There is absolutely no reason to move on this change so quickly.

So you ask what you can do? You can help by protecting Alex's access to his critical medical care. Alex's life depends on you. Please!

We are writing to our representatives, as well as to Senator Ryan, the architect of the block grant legislation, and following up with personal phone calls.

This is the letter we are sending to our representatives:

Dear Senator Johnson,
Dear Senator Baldwin,
Dear Congressman Gallagher,
Dear Congressman Ryan, Speak of the House of Representatives,

I am writing to you on behalf of my son, Alex Forster. Alex is a 26 year old man with autism. Alex is nonverbal and requires constant supervision. He lives in a group home not far from us and has been thriving there, thanks to the government programs that provide for his care. He lives in a home with three other young men who also have developmental disabilities and they have around the clock caregivers. Alex has a part time job and is active in the community.

Two years ago, Alex was diagnosed with cancer. He has endured multiple treatments, including more than one chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. After several months in remission, we learned recently that his cancer is back and the battle continues. He is receiving an immunotherapy treatment that we are hoping will extend his life. Right now, he feels pretty well and the side effects of his treatment are minimal.

Alex's healthcare is provided through Medicaid. He has received excellent care at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee and Fox Valley Hematology and Oncology in Appleton. Due to his current Medicaid coverage, Alex's doctors have been able to make decisions about his care based entirely on his medical needs. His doctors and his medical coverage have saved his life.

We understand that congress is looking at converting Medicaid to a block grant program, and that this change may happen quickly. We implore you to not rush to making changes without thoroughly exploring the consequences of these changes. We ask you to vote no on any immediate changes and take time to carefully explore options that will protect our most vulnerable citizens.

If the decisions about Alex's medical care are made by politicians with the emphasis being on cost saving measures, and these politicians refuse or cap Alex's medical care so that he cannot get the treatment he needs, Alex will die.

Let me be clear, if Alex is denied treatment due to changes in Medicaid funding, he will die.

This is America, and we ought to be able to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Alex, and many others like him, are counting on us.

Thank you for your time and consideration. We will be following this letter up with a phone call to your office.


Caroline and John Forster

Follow the link to find out how to contact your representatives:

Contact Your US Representative

Contact Your US Senator

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