Grand Haven Couple Struggles Without Health Coverage, Would Benefit From Medicaid Expansion

By Natasha Robinson, MPCA Communications Specialist

Contributed Photo. Dan and Marie Haak say they would benefit greatly if Medicaid is extended to families like theirs, living up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Contributed Photo. Dan and Marie Haak say they would benefit greatly if Medicaid is extended to families like theirs, earning up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

Dan and Marie Haak, a married couple both in their mid-40s living in Grand Haven, struggle to make ends meet without having health insurance. They say extending Michigan’s Medicaid program to adults with income up to 133 percent of poverty would help them better take care of their health issues. Both have painful back conditions that require regular doctor visits. Marie has a bulging disc and cortisone shots help her function at her Burger King job where she earns about $11,000 per year. Dan’s back is being held together by metal plates and screws. He’s unemployed and fighting for disability benefits. Meanwhile, the couple relies on Muskegon Family Care, one of Michigan’s 35 Health Center organizations, and the discount it provides for primary care services based on family income.

The Haak family received Medicaid benefits in the past, but lost coverage after their children grew up and moved out on their own. Dan was able to have surgery in 2007 before his Medicaid coverage ended. He woke up one day with another issue, called his doctor and was told that there was nothing she could do for him.

“My back is deteriorating. It’s a disease,” Dan said. “All they can do is give me shots and pain pills.”

Dan said he and his wife have been uninsured for a while now, and are able to pay $10 at Muskegon Family Care for each office visit. However, those sliding fee scale discounts aren’t offered outside of the Health Center’s services.

“[Medicaid expansion] would just help us all out,” Dan said. “It would make our lives easier.”

Dan and Marie Haak’s story is just one story among hundreds of thousands of stories from our neighbors across the state whose health and lives would be greatly improved by Medicaid expansion and reform. Do you have a story to tell? Please email Natasha Robinson at nrobinson@mpca.net to share yours!

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