I really like this picture. It was taken at Prairie Ridge during art class this spring. The class was doing chalk outlines on the playground. While Koan can not reciprocate by drawing his partner’s silhouette, he clearly enjoyed the experience of having his done. It’s a simple thing, but I love this example of inclusion. The other child who drew his outline (you can only see the hand and chalk in the photo) looks like they took some time and put some thought into the process. It also meant they had to get into Koan’s personal space. As adorable as I think Koan is, he does look and act differently than most ten-year-olds. The fact that there was another child willing to do this with him warms my heart.
From a bigger picture lens, that’s one of the main things I want for all of my children: meaningful social interactions with others. It seems like that’s a pretty important part of being happy. Up until this point, we’ve been really blessed with numerous, small but significant events to fill Koan’s life with this type of activity. One of my overarching worries for him is wondering what will this look like as he gets older. Right now, our family provides a lot of this, but we also get incredible support from organizations like The Arc. Koan will start summer camp in June — seven weeks of full days — swimming, going to the park, making art, etc… It’s these types of small, inexpensive experiences that make life worth living. And, all of the programs offered by The Arc are funded in part by Medicaid.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but Medicaid is so crucial to Koan present and future. There’s an ongoing Medicaid crisis in Iowa right now. Our most vulnerable populations — the disabled and children — are being grossly underserved by the privatized managed care organizations running Medicaid. People are dying! What’s more, not only is this program failing to meet even the most basic care needs of the people it serves, it is more expensive to run (costing all Iowans more in taxes) than the previous state-run program.
Those who know me, understand that I don’t like to participate in partisan politics. I’m a centrist and independent philosophically. But, after continued, persistent communication with Governor Reynold’s office, I am convinced by her actions (or lack there of…) that she and her administration has no intention of meaningfully reforming or removing the disaster that is privately managed Medicaid in Iowa. After watching the Democratic gubernatorial primary debate, I am also convinced that whoever wins that race will make removing privatized Medicaid a top priority. So, I’m going to do something I rarely do, I’m urging anyone and everyone I know in Iowa to vote Kim Reynolds out of office in November.
I hate the fact that our current system has painted me into a corner where I need to make a partisan plea to preserve the future for my child. System supports like Medicaid should not be subject to partisan politics. And, honestly, I really don’t think there are many people who want to endanger Koan by implementing terrible programs like privatized managed Medicaid care. But, perhaps if we all send a strong enough message in November, all candidates for office (regardless of party affiliation) will realize that programs like Medicaid should be preserved in order to align with American and Iowa values.