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The Human Toll

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As lawmakers grapple with limited resources to balance the state’s budget, it behooves them to consider the human toll of their deliberations.

One of many poignant examples was reported recently on the Eyewitness News.

Sara Lohmeyer has muscular dystrophy.

Because she is now 24, cuts in Medicaid have already eliminated her from receiving much-needed physical and occupational therapy. Without that muscle toning and strengthening, she has to drop out of school. Her joints and muscles are simply too tight and sore to allow her to continue.

If Medicaid is trimmed more, which is likely, Sara says her ability to survive on her own will be swept away. Her condition will deteriorate and she’ll end up in a nursing facility. With understandable emotion, she believes the state will have sentenced her to a terrible fate:

"Then they might as well sign my death certificate because they will kill me. Even prisoners that have life imprisonment and prisoners on death row have more access to medical care than I do right now."

The sad plight of many truly needy individuals won’t make the resources suddenly appear to meet their many needs. And lawmakers can’t allow their emotions to rule the state’s wallet. Still, the human toll of legislative action is a critical aspect for lawmakers to consider as they deal with the state’s bleak budget picture.

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