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Your choice

This situation is drawn from the budget crises faced by Ohio, Kentucky and other states this year. If you were a state legislator, what would you choose? The choices you make will reflect your personal values and ethical standards.

As a legislator, it's your responsibility to help design and pass a state budget that spends no more tax dollars than it takes in. The economy is in recession, and the state has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs. Income and sales tax revenues are plummeting, while health-care costs are soaring.

Medicaid, the program that provides health coverage to more than 1 million poor and disabled people in your state, will cost an additional $2 billion over the next two years just to maintain current levels of care. The increase is so great that options include a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax and deep cuts to road, school and university funding.

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Back to Extreme Choices
In Their Own Words
Three parents speak out on how their child's situation affects various aspects of their lives. Hear their stories in their own words.
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Listen to these mothers' advice for other families:
Barb Steele
Debbie Martin
Melissa Hahn

Photo Galleries
A Photographer's Journal
Enquirer photographer Michael Keating tells the story of these families through his own words and photos.

The Hahn Family
Melissa and Randy Hahn are dealing with a daughter that has extensive brain damage, epilepsy and a seizure condition.

Your Choice
These situations are hypothetical, yet drawn from real experiences. What would you choose?

You are a physician, free to accept or refuse anyone as a patient. Do you treat someone who has a low-paying job that does not proved health insurance coverage?
You make the choice.

How much care should your critically ill newborn receive?

How do you pay when your insurance runs out?

You're a legislator. Where do you spend the money?

Did You Know?
Ohio hasn't increased its payments to doctors seeing Medicaid patients in three years, but nursing homes get automatic increases every year. It's state law. Nursing home costs increased 31 percent in five years to $2.2 billion, making it the health care program's single biggest expense in 2001.