For years, Rachel felt defined by her numerous medical conditions and controlled by the continual fight to get treatment for them. She spent most of her life uninsured or, at best, with insufficient coverage, which left her in a constant struggle to get the care and services she needed. Chronic respiratory illness, depression, severe anxiety and constant pain were limiting what she could do, and served as persistent reminders of her inability to access care.

Fortunately, Rachel was able to gain health care coverage through Medicaid. Being covered by Medicaid – particularly by protections for pre-existing conditions – has allowed Rachel to be “strong, confident and thriving.” Coverage for doctor appointments, testing, surgeries, prescriptions and in-person treatment has been crucial to her ability to pursue a great career, build relationships and even become a triathlete.

Since becoming enrolled in Medicaid, Rachel has come to recognize and value quality of life over “just surviving.” Looking back on her experiences with illness and treatment, she reflects, “I have learned that even though I can’t control my circumstances, I can control my response to them.” Living the life she’s been given, no matter the conditions or situations in which she finds herself, is what matters most to her.

Photo credit: Barry Guitierrez, courtesy of Colorado Consumer Health Initiative

Consumer Stories

The needs and experiences of health care consumers — particularly people in marginalized or low-income communities or with complex needs and significant disabilities — are the driving force of the Center’s work. Documenting and amplifying patients’ real-life health care situations, in their own words, is central to our ability to create a health care system that works for all of us. Click below for stories from some of the consumers we work with.