The email dated May 11, 2017 from the East Georgia State College academic office felt ominous to Joshua Proffitt. He asked his mother to read it to him. It was not bad news.
“You made the Dean’s Merit List!” Mitzi Proffitt said. “You have a 3.5 GPA!”
It’s another milestone on a remarkable journey for the 22-year-old from Brooklet, Ga. From the sandy road where his family lives it’s a short drive through the countryside to reach Statesboro and Georgia Southern University, where Joshua plans to prepare for a career in broadcasting.
Look at his academic success. Hear him predict future NASCAR winning drivers on a salty JR Nation podcast that features his picks in its regular “The Proffitt” segment. You can see his path to post-college success opening up before him.
Joshua needed some help to get this far, and he’ll need some more to get to the finish line. His limitations are caused by cerebral palsy. Medicaid benefits help his family pay for the power wheelchair he uses to get around. They help pay for Ashelyn “Cookie” Young to come to his home to help him get ready in the morning and take notes for him at school. And benefits help pay for Julie Koo to come to his home after classes to help with his homework and the dinner routine.
Joshua is tuned in to the ongoing national health care debate. He’s more than a little worried that the U.S. Senate’s plans to cap Medicaid benefits holds the potential to upend his family’s life. He receives Medicaid benefits through a waiver program for people with developmental disabilities. The benefits allow him to get the help he needs to stay in his home instead of an institution.
The state’s home and community-based services are an optional Medicaid benefit, so they stand at greater risk of cuts under the Senate’s health bill. In addition to potential hardship for families like the Proffitts, Georgia stands to lose thousands of home health aides and personal care aide jobs if these services are cut.
Check out our video that captures a day in the life of Joshua and his family. Their story is happening in Brooklet, but it could take place in any community and with any family in Georgia.