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Shrinking Medicaid (access required)

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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