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Cerebral Palsy Didn’t Stop This College Junior. Obamacare Repeal Might.

HILLIARD, Ohio ― Justin Martin, 21, is in many respects a typical junior at Kenyon College. He lives in an off-campus apartment, which he shares with six other guys. He’s majoring in English, helps run a student improv group, and last semester he took five courses instead of the usual four ― a “terrible idea,” he now concedes. Sometimes he pulls all-nighters to write papers or study for exams, drawing sustenance from soda and chocolate-covered almonds. And sometimes he stays up late just to have long arguments with his roommates ― like over whether it’s OK to ban campus speeches by white supremacists (Martin says no) or whether the seventh Harry Potter novel was the worst (Martin says yes).

But in one respect, Martin is unique on the Kenyon campus and rare among college students in general. He has cerebral palsy, the disorder in which damage to the brain impairs muscle movement. Martin cannot walk or care for himself without assistance. His life in college ― getting to room with his fellow students, carrying a more-than-full course load ― is a testimony to many things, including supportive administrators and his own stubborn determination. But, Martin says, none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the help of government programs. And perhaps the most important among them is Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program that provides coverage to the needy, including people with disabilities.


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