Bonnie Kerlew – Oceanside, CA

My name is Bonnie Kerlew. I am 74 and I care for a 12-year-old boy named Jaime, who I met through my work as a nurse. When Jaime’s parents were unable to keep him in their care, I offered to care for him and am now his legal guardian. We live in Oceanside, CA.

Jaime depends on me and IHSS to get the care he needs. IHSS is the Medicaid-funded home care program here in California. He has tube feeding every four hours, he’s incontinent, and he doesn’t walk. He requires 24/7 care because of his tracheal tube and GT tube. He’s non-verbal, so I’ve had to learn how to read his facial expressions and understand his needs.

Jaime needs IHSS, a program that is funded by Medicaid. If they cut Medicaid, he’d have to be placed in an institution. If he’s institutionalized, who is going to pay for that? If they cut IHSS, he won’t get the quality care he needs. There needs to be some funding to have me here caring for him.

Losing IHSS would hurt both of us and hundreds of thousands of IHSS clients who depend on it for the quality care they need. IHSS and home care is the best choice for Jaime and many people with disabilities like him.

My message to Congress and the White House? Don’t cut Medicaid. Put yourself in our place. If you had a family member or friend who needed care, what would you do?

Bonnie Kerlew is a constituent of Congressman Darrell Issa, who voted to repeal our health care and cut Medicaid by at least $880 million dollars. Read another story from Darrell Issa’s district here.