"Innovations in Medicaid is a necessity to bridge the gap between low-income individuals and the rest of the country. It gives low-income and disabled individuals a chance to survive without being under the pressures of payment for routine necessary services. Often, those using Medicaid services are often shamed for being on the program. People have this ideology that because you are Medicaid you are receiving handouts from the government.

"For 10 years, I worked at a low-paying job and my position did not offer me health insurance. I would have not had access to simple route services if not for Medicaid.  My grandmother an immigrant to America became disabled due to a work injury. She was on a limited income and therefore could not afford health insurance. Medicaid has been an important component to her health. She also had to care for her daughter who had postpartum depression and two of her grandchildren. Without a survivable income and no health insurance she would not have been able to give them their basic necessities to thrive. "

Sarah Devi Merhai

Sarah Merhai was born in Goshen; NY and she is of Indo-Caribbean descent. Both of her parents were born in Guyana, a small country in South America. They both immigrated to Queens, NY in the 1980’s. Sarah is a mom of two wonderful children; her daughter is 9 years old and her son is 6 years old. She has been married to her amazing husband for 12 years. Her husband and his family immigrated to Queens, NY in the 2000’s from Trinidad. She met her husband in a Hindu temple in Queens, NY. She got married and had her son in Jersey City, NJ. She decided to move closer to her grandmother and raise her children in Fredericksburg, VA where she grew up. She has been with The United Postal Service as a Sales and Service Distribution Clerk for 6 years. Before the Postal Service, she was employed at a children’s apparel store for 10 years. She received her Associates Degree in General Education and Science from Germanna Community College. Her degree path was Allied Health to Nursing. She was unable to complete her nursing degree due to personal reasons and financial struggles.

Around the age of 2, she was taken in by her maternal grandmother due to the unexpected passing of her mother. Her mother and aunt passed away in a tragic car accident in New York. Her grandmother raised her cousin as well due to her aunt having severe postpartum depression. Back in Guyana, her grandmother was a farmer and a housekeeper. She is a mother to eight children and has now outlived three of her children and husband. She doesn't know how to read, write, or drive. Her grandmother became disabled due to work injury, causing her to rely on disability income from Social Services. Her grandmother is the reason she feels strongly about the Medicaid program. She was an immigrant to America and had to navigate through the program to receive various services not only for herself but for her children and grandchildren as well.