Gabriel: Kansas City, KS


GabrielFor the last 20 years, Gabriel, age 47, worked helping adults with developmental disabilities live as independently as possible. Gabriel liked his job and was planning to stay there until he retired. But in the summer of 2018, Gabriel injured his back. In intense and constant pain, Gabriel could no longer continue to work, which meant he also lost his health insurance.

If Kansas had expanded its Medicaid program, Gabriel would have access to health insurance. But right now, he is not eligible for the program and is living without health care coverage. This means Gabriel cannot afford the replacement parts he needs for his sleep apnea machine, which keep him breathing at night. All he can do is continue to clean the old parts and hope they last.

Gabriel is using his savings to pay out of pocket for medications to treat his bipolar disorder, but he is unable to access other needed care like medication for his back pain. He’d found that being active every day, volunteering at his local animal shelter, and spending time at his friend’s alpaca farm were instrumental in keeping his bipolar disorder under control – but his constant back pain prevents him for volunteering. Without these activities, Gabriel has noticed his symptoms getting worse.

If Gabriel had health insurance, he would get surgery to repair his back and get a new sleep apnea machine: “I’d like to get back to being more independent,” he told us. But for now, all he can do is wait and hope that he gets access to health insurance soon.


Special thanks to the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County for their partnership.

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