Prairie Village mom of son with disabilities lobbies Moran to vote against Graham-Cassidy: ‘Why are we asking mothers to justify keeping their children alive?’

Laura Robeson and her son Danny. Submitted photo.
Laura Robeson and her son Danny. Submitted photo.

Last Thursday, Prairie Village resident Laura Robeson made her sixth trip to the Olathe office of Sen. Jerry Moran in recent months with the group Indivisible KC. On this trip, she was especially moved to speak up. The Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill making its way through the Senate would have a very real impact on her family’s life. In fact, she believed, it posed a threat to her 5-year-old son, Danny.

“I’m not sure why it is in this country we are asking mothers to justify why it is important to keep their children alive,” she told Sen. Moran’s staff.

Danny was born prematurely and spent six days in the neonatal intensive care unit. He has a variety of serious health issues, including cerebal palsy, cortical vision impairment and epilepsy, that require near constant care.

In the years after his birth, the family did not have the option of sending Danny to a standard daycare facility, so Laura was forced to quit her job as a teacher and stay home with Danny full time. When the family secured a technical assistance waiver through the Medicaid program, however, they became eligible for skilled care for Danny, and Laura was able to enter the workforce again.

Robeson fears that with the substantial cuts to Medicaid proposed in the Graham-Cassidy bill, services for people like her son would dry up.

“The services would go away, and that would be a significant blow to us,” she said. “But really my greater concern is for Danny and his long term health and independence. They would be greatly affected by this. We’re going to get old some day. Who is going to take care of him?”

Here’s a video of Robeson speaking to Moran’s staff last week:

Sen. Susan Collins’ announcement Monday that she was not prepared to support the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill appeared to doom its passage. But Robeson still believes Sen. Moran needs to hear how the bill would impact constituents like her. She’ll be heading back to his office this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. with Indivisible KC and plans on speaking again.

She says she remains nervous about the potential that the bill could pass, but believes Moran may ultimately come out against it.

“I’m concerned,” she said. “But I’m hopeful. He sided with us before on the [Better Care Reconciliation Act]. I hope he will do that again.”