Reporting John Lauritsen
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) – The countdown to a government shutdown has one 10-person Minnesota family especially worried, because they could lose thousands of dollars if a deal isn’t reached.
Jason and Jessica Neal have eight children. Six of the children are adopted, and five of them have health issues, like being exposed to alcohol and cocaine before they were born. The family receives assistance from the state to help deal with their children’s health problems.
“Some people ask us if we are insane having such a large family,” Jason Neal said. “We are very blessed and we have a lot of fun as a family.”
The Neal’s can have as many as five doctor’s appointments a day, and they need thousands of dollars in prescription drugs to keep their children healthy. Right now, medical and adoption assistance covers the costs, but if lawmakers can’t agree on a budget, that could change.
“As a parent of eight children, we compromise all day long. I need grown-ups to compromise now. I need them to do this,” Jessica Neal said.
She said with no assistance they will have to come up with $27,000 next month. The Neal’s have a lot of family and a lot of faith. Jason is a Pastor, so they are praying for a compromise and for the future of their children.
If a budget deal isn’t reached, one Neal child, Malachi, many need to have surgery for a tumor in his stomach before the government shuts down.
“It is a scary thing to think about. What would it do to us long-term? How would we recover financially long-term? We just don’t know,” Jason Neal said.
The Neal’s say a shutdown would likely force them to ask family and friends for help in paying for medical bills.
The good news is that adoption assistance is on a list of critical services Gov. Dayton would like to see protected in case of a shutdown.