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As a pediatrician in Altus, Oklahoma, Dr. Effiong knows firsthand the difference Medicaid makes in the lives of her patients. “Medicaid for our children is absolutely vital,” Dr. Effiong said. “This is a rural area, and there is a high rate of poverty. A lot of people can’t afford medications or doctor visits without health insurance like Medicaid.”
Living in a rural area creates additional barriers to care. The closest children’s hospital is two and a half hours away. But children covered by Medicaid can receive transportation help, which relieves a huge burden on their parents.
While Medicaid helps Dr. Effiong’s pediatric patients, often the children’s parents are uninsured, which hurts the whole family. Many parents make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to buy health insurance. It can be very frustrating for Dr. Effiong to be able to treat a sick child but not a sick parent. “To have a healthy kid, it is so important to have a healthy adult as well,” Dr. Effiong said.