Medicaid Patient Says Health Care Cutbacks Are Devastating - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/14/04

Medicaid Patient Says Health Care Cutbacks Are Devastating

A Stone County woman fears that major changes in the state's Medicaid program will leave her and thousands of others without health care.

State lawmakers agreed to remove some 65 thousand poor, disabled and elderly patients from Medicaid and transfer then to the federal Medicare program.

Some patients of the program say the budget cutting move could have some devastating consequences.

Lee Ann Lott lives in small house and survives on a disability check of 651 dollars a month. She receives health care benefits from both Medicaid and Medicare. State budget cuts are about to impact her health care.

"We have become a number to the state. It is a financial issue. That's all it is. A financial issue," she exclaimed.

Lott has read through piles of paperwork outlining the Medicaid changes. Some of the paperwork is difficult to understand. The bottom line impact is not.

"I can't go back to the doctor at all. Because I can't make the debts. Because I can't pay them. That's very, very simple. I can't pay the part that Medicaid is not going to be paying," she explained.

The changes will also jeopardize the dozen different prescription drugs she takes. She can't afford increasing co pays and more out of pocket expenses.

"There's no way. That adds up to way more than my 651 dollars is a year. My 651 is under eight thousand dollars a year," said Lott.

Her desire is to do for herself, paying for health care and other costs of living. But the physical disabilities make that a difficult challenge.

"Employers don't want people on disabilities. They discriminate vastly with people with disabilities. They don't want them on their insurance. It's a burden on their insurance," she said.

Lee Ann Lott doesn't want sympathy for herself. She wants state law makers to associate a real face with health care concerns and understand the impact of budget balancing decisions.

"Stop being uncaring. Stop being unfeeling. Take care of yourself if you don't care about anybody else. Because you don't know if it's going to be you tomorrow," she warns.

By Steve Phillips

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