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HUSKY care expansion still leaves many without care, including a father hanging on the brink

Maricarmen Cajahuaringa
/
Connecticut Public
Luz Janet Linares (left) helps her husband, Silvano Campis (right), drink water in their Hartford residence.

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Silvano Camis is originally from Mexico. He came to Connecticut when he was just 5 years old, and in 2009 he became a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient.

But after a sudden fall in 2021, Camis underwent brain surgery. Now he is paralyzed and suffers from seizures.

Luz Janet Linares, Camis'wife, remembers the day he was injured.

“I was told that my husband was feeling sick, and he needed surgery, because he fell and suffered brain trauma,” Linares said. "My husband is not coming out soon, what am I going to do alone and with my three children?”

Due to his immigration status, Camis did not have health insurance. Fortunately, he was approved for HUSKY A emergency, but now it's about to expire.

Camis desperately needs Keppra, an anti-epileptic drug. He also needs psychiatric attention, intense physical therapy, home health care, a wheelchair and adult diapers.

“The doctor told me that the trauma was because Silvano fell,” Linares said. “He had blood clots that were pushing onto his brain. Because of how he fell, and they try to stabilize it."

A Connecticut Health Foundation report says that in 2019 about 204,500 Connecticut residents lived without health insurance.

Throughout the last legislative session, Husky for Immigrants, a coalition formed by over a dozen human rights organizations, advocated for expanding Medicaid to all Connecticut residents regardless of immigration status.

After negotiations and debate coverage was ultimately expanded to cover qualifying children up to 15 years old, regardless of their immigration status.

Luis Luna, a member of HUSKY for immigrants, said it is concerning that people without health insurance are living on the edge of life and death.

“We all agree that health issues don't stop at any age. So restricting health access through the HUSKY program to young people, adults, and older adults,” Luna said, is "a disregard for the health of our communities.”

Luna argued that if the bill were approved for people up to age 26, it would cost 1% of the Medicaid budget and cover about 5,000 young people without health insurance.

Doctors told Linares that Camis would never be able to return to work or have the life he used to. Linares is the only breadwinner of the household. She said it is challenging to keep up with the health and financial struggles.

“We are emotionally affected. If someone tells you that your husband is on the edge of life and death. I didn't know how to tell my children,” she said. “I am in shock, in shock. I close my eyes and it all seems like a bad dream.”

In February, a 12-hour public hearing saw over700 testimonies written in support and 200 people testifying in support of the original bill, including health care providers, residents, and some legislators.

Luna said the goal is to have HUSKY for everybody regardless of age and immigration status.

A survey showed that 57% of voters support expanding HUSKY to all, including undocumented immigrants.

“I want to tell everybody to touch your heart and think about life. If my husband doesn't take his medication he has seizures, and it could be fatal,” Linares said. “Please at least make an exception, look up to each case.”

Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.

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