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Shrinking Medicaid (access required)

One daily activity short of coverage, disabled residents sue over loss of benefits

Margaret Drew didn’t have time to speak to her lawyer. She was rushing out the door for an art class and a lunch date at the senior center high-rise where she lives in Charlotte. When her attorney, Elizabeth D. Edwards, dialed her up to check on Drew’s Medicaid appeals process, Drew was all apologies. “Sorry, I gotta go, honey,” Drew said over the phone. Then she was off. Drew, 63, uses an oxygen tank. She has had a heart attack, and arthritis makes it tough for her grip much. “When I drop things in my apartment, it looks like tornado went through it,” she said. Drew is still able to live relatively independently because a certain type of Medicaid assistance pays for a home-health aide to stop by and help her dress and bathe. But a June 1 change to Medicaid eligibility requirements threatens to curtail the autonomy of Drew and thousands of other disabled or elderly North Carolinians.

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