South Mississippi Resident Says Her Life Depends On Medicaid Decision - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/13/04

South Mississippi Resident Says Her Life Depends On Medicaid Decision

In less than 3 weeks, tens of thousands of Mississippians will be dropped from the Medicaid program.

Many of them losing their prescription drug coverage.

That is if Governor Haley Barbour does not call a special session for lawmakers to rethink this legislation. At least one coast resident says the length of her life depends on this decision.

"Why don't they just line us up out there, take a dad blamed machine gun and shoot us? It would be more humane," said cancer patient, Wanda Teale.

Time is ticking away for 70-year-old.

"I have a very bad heart, which I have to take six medications a day," Teale said. "I have high blood pressure, and I am a terminal lung cancer patient."

Teale is one of 65,000 Mississippians who have been notified by mail that they will lose their Medicaid benefits come July first.

She breaks down a letter she received last week

"It says you will no longer receive coverage for your prescriptions through Medicaid, however, you will be eligible to receive pharmacy assistance from Medicare," said Teale as she read from the letter.

Teale says that's not enough to pay for the drugs she takes to battle her deadly heart and blood pressure problems.

"They told me $600 a year. My medicine is $270 a month. Two months, how am I going to live the rest of the time?" Teale asked.

Teale is one of thousands begging the Governor for help.

Even some lawmakers calling for another look at Medicaid haven't convinced the governor to call a special session on the issue.

Wanda Teale fears the worst.

"I know now how people who have been sentenced to die for a crime, I know now how they feel. Is that what you want to be, Mr. Barbour, an executioner?" Teale asks with tears running down her face. "Well, sir, that's what you're being."

WLOX placed several calls to the governor's office Sunday.

None of these phone calls have been returned.

Governor Barbour says moving people to the federally run medicare program will save the state $106 million.

He has also said he is seeking federal waivers that will allow cancer, dialysis and organ-transplant patients to continue receiving prescription benefit from Medicaid, as well as waivers for those who do not now qualify for Medicare.

By: Toni Miles

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