Of all 50 states, Mississippi is the most conservative in the Union. Indeed, it is almost a one-party state, comprised of Republicans and more Republicans.
This is why they have not expanded Medicaid, and why the courts have to intervene when they threaten to shut down all the clinics providing abortion services to women there.
Lawmakers in Mississippi believe with all their hearts and minds that most people are just stupid moochers, doing moochy things, and if you don't believe me, let me tell you the story of Jeffrey S. Guice, Mississippi state representative, and one constituent.
Nichols wrote to Guice, her state representative, because she was having difficulty with CHIP covering her child's diabetes supplies. She wrote:
I am the mother of a child with Type 1 diabetes and an advocate who works with the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. We have recently begun having a lot of problems with Medicaid/CHIP coverage of the essential diabetes supplies needed, not only to keep our kids healthy, but to literally keep them alive. Many parents, myself included, have found that while supplies are deemed necessary and technically covered by insurance, we cannot get Medicaid and/or CHIP to pay for them, and suppliers aren't able to help us.
They are normal kids who lead full lives, as long as they have the proper diabetes care!
I have spent countless hours, day after day, calling Medicaid/UHC Community Plan, researching medical suppliers, reading Medicaid Policy guidelines and UHC Community Plan coverage guidelines, even researching Medicaid fee schedules, in an attempt to get my daughter's supplies covered and shipped. I am not the only parent who has been through this! No parent should have to fight for so long for their child's essential medical supplies and medical needs when it's explicitly stated as a covered benefit. Yet, I have gotten nowhere.
Is there someone in the legislature that can and will help these children stay healthy? They must have these medications and supplies which administer the medications in order to remain healthy and, quite honestly, alive!
Are you ready for the answer she received? As the parent of an adult son with Type I diabetes, I was absolutely furious when I read it.
Guice wrote back, "I am sorry for your problem. Have you thought about buying the supplies with money that you earn?"
Keep in mind that she wrote about CHIP, the federal children's health insurance program which is also regulated by the state. She also wrote looking for some help with why she was having trouble getting life-critical diabetes supplies covered. As well she should have been. Without these basic supplies, her child could die.
She wrote him back, and was more polite than I was. As part of her response she outlined the cost of the supplies she has to buy:
You see, type 1 diabetes is an expensive disease.
Insulin: $400 per vial of humalog (2 vials a month for my daughter, 3 for my husband with T1)
Insulin #2: $150 per vial of Lantus (for emergency pump failure)
Test stirps: $300 per month (per person)
Insulin pump supplies: $375 per month (per person)
Dexcom CGM sensors: $300 per month (per person)
Glucagon: $450 per syringe
Ketone strips: $80 for a box of 10
$150 per month in various smaller prescriptions such as adhesives, alcohol swabs, glucose gels, etc.
Do you earn enough money to pay for these items every month?
By the way, I think those costs are probably even a bit low, when I think about what we paid before the health insurance kicked in for our diabetic son.
Who does this? WHO DOES THIS? Who tells a mom who is struggling to keep her child healthy that she's a moocher who should get off the public dole and pay exorbitant prices for his medical supplies?
Republican jerk representatives, that's who. Jerk representatives with their taxpayer-funded health care plans and fat paychecks, that's who. If I were Nichols, I'd seriously consider running against that idiot when he's up for re-election. As a Republican, even, if Mississippians are so brainwashed they only pull the (R) lever for candidates.
I guarantee you we could get her a national following and a ton of small donors. Do it, Ms. Nichols. Run against that jerk.
UPDATE: HIs Twitter account, which appears not to have been used since 2010, is@repjeffguice for those of you who might like to send a message. He doesn't appear to have a Facebook page.