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Families Fight To Care For Disabled Kids At Home

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You've probably never seen a person hooked up to so many plastic tubes as Olivia Welter. There's a ventilator tube that keeps her breathing. There's a feeding tube that's also the tube for her dozen or so medicines. There are the tubes to the vibrating vest that loosens the mucus in her lungs. Another tube to help her cough. The tube that her nurse uses a couple times an hour to suction the mucus out of her mouth.

But if you think of being hooked up to machines as something that keeps a dying person alive, that's not what's going on here. Olivia Welter is not dying. These tubes and machines keep her healthy.

Olivia Welter is 20 years old and gets all this life-saving medical care through a program provided by Illinois' Medicaid program. But it's a program for children. And when Olivia Welter turns 21, at the stroke of midnight on Nov. 9, she is no longer eligible for that care.

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Tags: News of the Week Newsletter 19 November 2010