Desirae Hernandez, a 39-year-old home health care worker, said she did everything she could to keep from getting sick while she worked through the pandemic, but she wound up contracting the virus from a client. She was out of work for four weeks, with only six hours of sick leave.

Everyone in her home in Kennewick, Washington, got sick, too. Her husband, who was already working less because of the coronavirus shutdowns, was out of work for weeks with COVID-19. Hernandez’s 9-year-old son contracted the virus, as did her mother-in-law. Hernandez’s brother- and sister-in-law were both hospitalized.

“It was all around a scary situation,” she said. “Financially, I’m still catching up.”

They paid only the bills they had to pay and went to the food bank. Her cellphone was shut off. So was the Internet at home. She paid a neighbor $20 to borrow WiFi so her young son could attend online school. Luckily, Hernandez has insurance through the health care arm of the Service Employees International Union.Now everyone is feeling better, but the financial pain lingers. Hernandez says she has $3.94 in her checking account.

“At least it’s not in the red,” she said with a laugh.

Read more at HuffPost.

Several healthcare workers defended Cooney’s plan on Wednesday, including Celeste Thompson, the first Montana resident to sign up for expanded Medicaid. That measure was passed in 2015, the year Thompson learned that she had cancer.

Medicaid expansion provides health insurance to roughly 90,000 Montanans. If efforts to repeal the ACA succeed and Medicaid with it, Thompson said it would end her ability to receive care.

“I won’t be able to go to the doctor or dentist because it’s too expensive, and I can’t afford it,” she said. “I work and live paycheck to paycheck. My health would decline and my cancer could return. If they repeal the ACA and Medicaid expansion, thousands of Montanans would lose their healthcare.”

Read more at Missoula Current.

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