PHOENIX – The state's medical coverage for the poor is undergoing major changes with cutbacks in several areas and those cuts are expected to have a dramatic impact on many lives.
Five years ago Susan Goldstein suffered a stroke. She was a 1st-grade teacher and was only 29 years old.
She is unable to walk and take care of herself so Eli, her husband, wears many hats in order for them to get through each day.
Susan is on AHCCCS, a state and federally-funded medical program for people who cannot afford health insurance. The state is cutting Susan’s rehabilitation visits from 55 a year to 15.
Eli says, “It was a slap in the face. It was a wake-up call. I was pretty numb, I would say, for awhile."
AHCCCS will be drastically cut on Friday due to budget issues. Eli says, “Now it feels kind of like we're being kicked while we're down.”
Emily Roberts, from Swan Rehab, explains, “She was about to walk. Now she probably won't.”
Roberts says she is not just worried about Susan's progress but the progress of all AHCCS patients going through rehabilitation in hopes of living a normal life again.
Roberts explains, “Our concern is Susan and the other 20 percent are not going to get the care they need. They're going to decline.”
At home Eli turned a spare bedroom into a rehabilitation room because he says he and Susan are not giving up just because AHCCCS is making cuts.
Eli says, “I'm really a husband, I'm a caregiver, I’m a homemaker and now it looks like I will be a physical therapist as well.”
AHCCCS changes go into effect on Friday.
To read about all the changes, go to AHCCCS News and Updates.