Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mississippi Lawmaker Wins Competition As Most Heartless Pol

This Mississippi politician apparently thinks
if you're not rich enough to buy
lifesaving medication on your own
maybe you should just die and get out of the way. 
When you're in Congress, or a state legislature, or a governor or whatever, you do have to make tough financial choices.

What gets funded, what doesn't based on limited tax revenue. The reality is some worthy, needed programs  - or people in a tough spot - just don't get the money they need.

Such is the case in Mississippi.

According to the Clarion-Ledger newspaper, a mom named Nicole Nichols was getting Medicaid to help pay fo ran expensive insulin pump for her eight year old daughter, who has insulin.

She is a stay at home mom, but her husband works two jobs, so the family does have an income.

But this pump is extremely expensive, the Nichols' can't afford it on their own, and they reluctantly had to turn to Medicaid to help pay for the life saving device.

Then, the company that supplied the pump outsourced products and shipping to another company.

That other company was not covered by Medicaid, and Nichols can't find another outfit that is covered by Medicaid. So she could no longer get the insulin pumps with help from Medicaid. She tried something like 23 of them.

So, that's not Nichols' fault. It's bureaucracy.

In frustration, she reached out to Mississippi state lawmakers. Two were sympathetic but not committal. They'll see what they can do. Which is fine, that's all you can really ask.

But a third state rep, Jeffrey Guice, R-Ocean Springs  wrote back and told Nichols: "I am sorry for your problem. Have you thought abouty buying the supplies with money that you earn?"

I'll remind you again here that Nichols and her husband are employed.  I'll also note that right now, the out of pocket expenses for their kid's insulin pump is $2,000 a month.

So what Guice is really saying is if your job doesn't pay enough to pay for the medicines you need to stay alive, you just have to earn more money. Just like that.

In other words, only rich people deserve life-saving medicine.

I won't paint Republicans with the same brush, since many of them at least have some compassion and have their act together.

But there is a strain of awfulness in some corners of the GOP in which I think they believe only the 1 percent deserve to live. Everybody else is expendable.

At least Guice was blunt about this belief, unlike a lot of 'em who say they want to help but not really.

Guice right now isn't talking about this, refusing to answer questions from the Clarion Ledger, telling the paper, "I don't do interviews."

Oh, OK, you're an elected official who also thinks he's not accountable to the public. We got a real winner here.

Although, after the outcry over his remarks, Guice still wasn't taking calls, but released this emailed statement to the Associated Press:

"I realize my remarks to Mrs. Nichols were completely insensitive and out of line. I am sorry and deeply regret my reply. I know nothing about her and her family and replied in knee-jerk fashion. I'd like to think the people of Mississippi and my constituents know that I'm willing to help where I am able."

I'm still not satisfied. Guise said he replied to Nichols in "knee-jerk fashion." In other words, he assumed Nichols was just another freeloader, just like every person on Medicaid or other government assistance allegedly is.

Time to get those stupid, simplistic assumptions out of your head, Mr. Guise

On the bright side, all this publicity over Guise's comments has prompted Mississippi Medicaid to step in and see if there's anything they can do for Nichols. They're supposed to get in touch with her today.

So I guess Guise did end up helping in his own, bitter way.

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