We can now set the dates for our annual tradition known as the U.S. 1 Summer Fiction issue. The paper will be published Wednesday, July 26, with submissions due Monday, June 5. As always we look forward to printing original short stories and poetry written by the readers of U.S. 1 and people who work or live in central New Jersey.

As is also our tradition, we emphasize that the Summer Fiction issue is not a contest. We make our selections based first on readability and literary value and then in part on synergy with other submissions, the number of times the author has been printed before (newcomers encouraged), and available space.

We are partial to stories or poems that resonate with our readership — the people who toil at offices all around us — or our central New Jersey roots. What we don’t like: Stories that are really non-fiction articles. This is the time when we urge the writers’ imaginations to soar, not their reporting skills. We also steer clear of poems that are really prose just broken arbitrarily into lines and submissions by school children.

To see what we have run in the past visit www.princetoninfo.com, and search the archives for the issues by date. Look at the last issue in July for any year and you will find many examples.

E-mail submissions to fiction@princetoninfo.com or mail them to 15 Princess Road, Lawrenceville NJ 08648. Please include your full name, address, daytime phone number, and — very important — a brief biography. More deadline specifics and the date and place of our annual Summer Fiction reception in August will appear in the print and online editions of U.S. 1.

#b#To the Editor: Preserve Medicaid#/b#

President Trump and his administration are again about to propose legislation that would erode Medicaid, including benefits for those who suffer with a catastrophic illness covered under the Affordable Care Act. The devastating impact of the new costs included in the proposed legislation is not clear, but what is clear is that the objective of the proposed legislation is to make healthcare more affordable for those who are “well.” Unfortunately, those who have chronic and debilitating illnesses will see their coverage diminish and become less affordable.

From first-hand experience, I know that Medicaid presently leaves too many costs uncovered. My eight-year-old son is currently on Medicaid in addition to being covered by private medical insurance through my husband’s employer.

Ray has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disorder that is the leading cause of infant mortality. Most children do not live past the age of 2.

SMA is caused by a mutation in the SMN1 gene. In a healthy person, this gene produces a protein — called survival motor neuron protein or SMN protein — that is critical to the function of the nerves that control our muscles. Without it, those nerve cells cannot properly function and eventually die, leading to debilitating and often fatal muscle weakness.

As a result, Ray needs continual nursing care to ensure his safety as well as to take care of all basic life functions such as feeding, bathing, and dressing, as well as scratching an itch, waving a fly away from his face, and putting his hand on the joystick of his power wheelchair so he can have some independence. Medicare pays for this nursing care, which costs in excess of $200,000 a year.

Ray was diagnosed with SMA when he was six months old. Since then I have been unable to work because I have to be his advocate for the numerous medical, insurance, and educational issues that we face every day.

Even with a combination of the current Medicaid coverage and private insurance we are still faced with the financial challenge of how to afford the medical insurance deductible, co-payments and the cost of uninsured medical related expenses (i.e. the cost of a service contract on an auxiliary electric generator that we need to ensure that Ray’s critical medical equipment will operate during a power failure and the cost of a service contract on the electric lift that we use to raise Ray’s 300 pound electric wheelchair to our front door.

In order to meet these financial challenges, we rely upon the generosity of local charities and the support that we have received due to family, friends and neighbors who have organized small fundraisers on Ray’s behalf.

We also have come to rely upon Neighbors Fundraising for Neighbors (NF4N), a Monroe-based non-sectarian 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to facilitating community fundraising efforts for individuals who are facing medical challenges and require medical services and equipment to improve their quality of life.

However, if Congress passes legislation that will substantially reduce Medicaid coverage, we fear for the tremendous financial impact that it will have on our family. We fear that small local charities and small fundraisers will no longer be able to meet the financial shortfall that we will face each month.

Please urge your legislators not to support the administration’s proposed changes to Medicaid. For more information regarding Neighbors Fundraising for Neighbors visit their website, www.NF4N.org. To reach them for help, you can e-mail Info@NF4N.org.

Marcy Fantel

South Brunswick

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