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I don’t want to hear more numbers. I am not a number. My children are not numbers.

When they talk about millions of Americans losing Medicaid, they’re talking about my family. When they say Medicaid recipients are “takers” who don’t deserve medical care, they are talking about my children and me.

I’m the mother of two adult children with significant medical needs. My youngest, Sam, is 26 and has epilepsy. He experiences almost daily seizures, he is tube-fed and receives nine medications every day. My oldest, Jesse, has autism and a learning disability.

Since they were born, their father and I have done everything to care for them. We’ve worked with doctors, therapists, educators and social workers to help our sons be as healthy and happy as possible.

That’s our lifelong mission — to give our sons a life of health and happiness. Isn’t that what all parents hope for?

Now, with the new health care legislation that would cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid, I am terrified. How will we continue helping our sons lead healthy lives with the daily care they need from medical professionals?

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When I hear criticism about “those Americans receiving free health care,” I think about a newly married young couple. A couple who’s healthy and happy, with a bright future ahead. I think how we never imagined in our wildest dreams we would deal with catastrophic health problems -— until one day, we did. Who expects to be in a situation like ours?

My children aren’t takers. My family isn’t a statistic. The legislation before Congress would be devastating — not just to 22 million Americans, not just to 90,000 North Dakotans on Medicaid — but to my boys and me. Please ask our representatives to vote against this legislation.

Mary L. Rennich, Bismarck

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