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Apollo Beach mom and son back from Washington visit about Medicaid | Families

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Apollo Beach mom and son back from Washington visit about Medicaid
Apollo Beach mom and son back from Washington visit about Medicaid

Apollo Beach, FL -- On July 25 and 26, Tawn Boykin and her 3-year-old son Justin traveled to Washington shared their story of heartache and hope on Capitol Hill.

Tawn wanted to help lawmakers understand the importance of protecting pediatric care and their hometown children's hospital, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, in the face of growing budget concerns.

3-year-old Justin, who was born almost four months early and weighed just 1 lb, 6 ounces, has cerebral palsy, developmental delay, seizures and other health conditions related to being born premature.

The Boykin's along with 30 other patients from across the United States traveled to D.C. to bring attention to potential new barriers to pediatric health care as part of the National Association of Children's Hospitals (N.A.C.H.) Family Advocacy Day.

During their two day visit Justin and his family met with Representatives Gus Bilirakis, Kathy Castor, Bill Nelson, Richard Nugent, Dennis Ross, Marco Rubio and Bill Young, and even found time to take a tour of the White House.

Although decades of advocacy have yielded strides that have improved children's access to coverage, proposals to slash funding for Medicaid, the largest health care program for children in the country, have gained traction.

Congress continues to discuss proposals to cut the program's funding by $1 trillion during the next decade and impose a cap on the amount the federal government can contribute.

"More than half of the children who seek care at children's hospitals are insured through Medicaid," said St. Joseph's Children's Hospital COO Kimberly Guy. "Although budget realities are stark right now, we should not seek to balance budgets at the expense of our youngest and most vulnerable patients."

During the legislative visits, Tawn Boykin shared her own experiences with having a child with special health care needs, including the challenges of balancing work with frequent medical appointments, limits to their Medicaid coverage and the importance of having a "medical home" for children with complex and chronic conditions.

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