Disabled Tri-State woman on Medicaid struggles to reach her representatives

BELOW: Contact info for Tri-State lawmakers
How difficult is it to contact your lawmakers?
Posted at 7:27 AM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-10 21:45:21-04

Brianne Hoagland has lived with cerebral palsy her entire life. Now, she's fearful her accessible and independent lifestyle could disappear under the proposed healthcare bill -- and she's found it difficult to get in touch with legislators.

"If anything happens to Medicaid, I would basically pay everything out of pocket," she said.

Hoagland said she felt compelled to act when she saw images of disabled protesters physically removed from the capitol in June.

Hoagland decided to call her lawmakers. First, she reached out to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman; she left a message. The voice mailbox was full on Portman's Cincinnati phone line.

Then, Hoagland reached out to her state representative, Candice Keller.

"I just kind of want to be answered and I kind of want her to know the disability side of it and what is at stake for people that are on Medicaid waivers," Hoagland said.

Hoagland and Keller agreed to meet at a nearby coffee shop. Hoagland waited for an hour and Keller never showed up.

At WCPO's request, Portman and Keller responded to Hoagland's messages.

Portman said his officer received a "high volume of calls during the healthcare debate" and "we reached out to Ms. Hoagland so that we can hear directly from her."

Keller said unfortunate circumstances -- a new phone with a calendar glitch and car trouble -- prevented her from making the meeting with Hoagland.

"I deeply regret missing our meeting and have reach out to Ms. Hoagland to apologize for my mistake and offer to reschedule," Keller said in a statement.

They've since talked by phone. Hoagland said Keller was "extremely apologetic."

Hoagland was able to talk to staffers in Portman's office with the help of advocacy group Herd on the Hill. She also spoke with the office of his Democratic counterpart, Sherrod Brown. But, she said said she did not receive the assurance she was looking for: That her Medicaid would not be in danger.

Politico reported Thursday that a vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act did not appear to be forthcoming within the coming week.

Do you want to contact your senator about the healthcare bill (or something else)? Here is some contact information:

Brown, Sherrod - (D - OH)

713 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-2315

Contact him online.

Portman, Rob - (R - OH)

448 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510

Contact him online.

McConnell, Mitch - (R - KY)

317 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-2541

Contact him online.

Paul, Rand - (R - KY)

167 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-4343

Contact him online.

Donnelly, Joe - (D - IN)

720 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-4814

Contact him online.

Young, Todd - (R - IN)

400 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-5623

Contact him online.