GOP State Rep.’s Jaw Dropping Response To Mom of Sick Child

Insulin Needles

Insulin Needles for Diabetics.

— by Charles Gaba

There is a diabetes support Facebook community called Living in the World of Test Strips in which the following was posted by the mother of a child with diabetes. I’ve retyped it here (with permission) for better readability:

This morning I emailed the Mississippi House of Representatives because T1 (Type 1 diabetes) kids with Medicaid in Mississippi aren’t getting the necessary diabetes supplies and meds they need to stay healthy. Republican Mississippi State Representative Jeffery Guice took the time to respond. I feel it only appropriate to share. If you feel inclined, you can contact Rep. Guice at [email protected]

From: Nicki Nichols

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!

From: [Mississippi GOP State Representative] Jeffery S. Guice

I am sorry for your problem. Have you thought about buying the supplies with money that you earn?

Thank you, Jeffrey Guice

From: Nicole Nichols

Thank you kindly for your response.

I have thought quite often about buying these supplies with money that myself and my husband earn. Unfortunately, if we were to pay out of pocket for these supplies, with money that we earn, that sum would leave my family of four homeless.

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 strips: $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?

While you may, my husband and I, unfortunately, do not. We are working individuals, with college degrees, a small home, older but reliable vehicles, and without Medicaid to cover the LIFE SUSTAINING medications and supplies that my child needs, we would be homeless.

Insulin alone amounts to more than my house payment every month. Insulin literally keeps this little girl alive.

So, thank you for your incredibly rude response, sir. I can see exactly how far out of touch you really are with the residents of Mississippi.

And might I add, belittling the mother of a child with a chronic health condition, who is appealing for your assistance on behalf of the CHILDREN OF MISSISSIPPI is reprehensible. You are a pitiful excuse for a human being, Representative Jeffery Guice.

Sincerely, Nicole Nichols, MS Resident

Note: I’m not sure how often Lantus or Glucagon is needed, but by my count the above adds up to at least $5,200 per month, or a minimum of over $62,000 per year.

(Update: According to Ms. Nichols in this local story about the situation in the Clarion-Ledger, the cost for her daughter’s treatment/medication is around $2,000; the balance appears to be for her husband, who also has diabetes. This actually makes the family more sympathetic, because she’s only asking for state assistance for her daughter’s portion of the bill.)

This is an awful story, and this state representative is truly a jackass, but this is also hardly surprising. The Republican mindset in general (there are exceptions) is that if you’re not physically disabled, you shouldn’t be receiving financial assistance, period. The fact that it might cost thousands of dollars you don’t have to keep your kid alive is beside the point.

This is among the main reasons given by many conservatives about why 19 states still refuse to expand Medicaid under the ACA, even though doing so is a huge financial boost for their state and 90% or more of the costs are covered by the Feds.

Now, in this case it’s the CHILD who is on the program, not the parent, but since the parent is responsible for/speaking on behalf of the child, it amounts to the same thing. This jackass rep either doesn’t grasp how expensive the medication in question is (which shows stunning ignorance) or knows but doesn’t give a crap.

On a larger scale, however, this really does illustrate the philosophical differences between the parties (and/or between conservatives/progressives, depending on your point of view) when it comes to the social safety net in general. The Republican attitude, as I noted above, is that anyone who isn’t physically disabled should “get off their lazy asses and work for a living” (sometimes coached in different language, sometimes not). The default mindset here is that if you aren’t able to “pull your own weight” (i.e., afford to pay over $60K/year just to keep your kid alive in addition to the rest of you not starving to death yourselves), you must be either “lazy” or a “moocher.” This is the same attitude which brings us idiocy like “drug testing welfare recipients” programs, which time and time again end up with the state wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer money only to turn up just a handful of (or in many cases, none at all) drug users in the process… which is not only a huge waste of time and effort, but is also ironic since the ostensible reason for the testing requirement is supposedly to save taxpayer money.

The Democratic mindset — in general — is that society at large should help out anyone who falls below a certain income threshold, period. What that threshold should be may change from time to time, or it may vary depending on the type of assistance (Medicaid, SNAP, tax credits, etc), but the larger point is that if you can’t afford certain essential services — food, shelter, healthcare — society should help provide them. In return, if and when you rise above that threshold, it’s your responsibility to chip in to help others caught in the same dire straits. The more successful you are at climbing that ladder, the bigger portion of your success you’re expected to give back to society to help others. And if you’re lucky enough to never have been in that situation in the first place, then count your blessings and chip in… because you never know whether you will be some day later in life.

Perhaps nothing better illustrates this disconnect in the right-wing brain than successful Emmy-award winning actor Craig T. Nelson, appearing on the Glenn Beck show some years back:

This really should speak for itself, but I’ll spell it out anyway: Here’s an extremely successful actor, best-known for his roles in “Coach” and as “Mr. Incredible,” openly admitting that at one time he was on both food stamps and welfare, but that “no one helped him out”.

Again, to state the obvious: What the hell do you think food stamps and welfare are, you nitwit?

If no one had helped him out, he presumably would’ve starved to death or turned to a life of crime, which in turn very likely would have resulted in him being shot, stabbed to death or imprisoned. In any event, the odds of him ever becoming a successful actor would have been greatly diminished, and he wouldn’t be whining about the evils of public assistance as a guest on a nationally broadcast TV show 30-odd years later.

That’s right: Without public assistance, we very likely never would have had The Incredibles. We should probably double the food stamp budget for that reason alone.

In any event, I wish Ms. Nichols all the best in her quest to straighten out her daughter’s Medicaid coverage situation.

Update: The message appears to have gotten through to Rep. Guice (at least to the point that he’s issued an apology, anyway):

Guice, who told The Clarion-Ledger Tuesday morning “I don’t do interviews” and declined to comment, issued an apology Tuesday night.

I realize my remarks to Mrs. Nichols were completely insensitive and out of line,” Guice said in an emailed statement. ” 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.”

OK, great. Now let’s see if he and his colleagues actually do anything to resolve the issue itself.

Deep South Votes: Santorum Wins, Gingrich Places, Romney Shows

Today, Republicans voted in Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii and American Samoa.

  • Santorum won the Alabama primary with 34.5%, Gingrich came second with 29.3%, just ahead of Romney with 29.0%, and Paul scored 5.0%.
  • Santorum won the Mississippi primary with 32.9%, Gingrich 31.3%, Romney 30.3%, and Paul 4.4%.
  • Romney won the Hawaii caucus with 45.4%. Santorum came with 25.3%. Paul was third with 18.3% winning the largest island while Romney won the smaller islands.
  • No vote totals are available from the US Territory of American Samoa, but Romney is projected to win all 9 delegates.
    Update: Only 70 Republicans participating in the caucus since “it’s rare in American Samoa for anyone to officially register as a Republican or Democrat because local elected officials don’t run on party lines.” This means that 13% of caucus goers in American Samoa will be eligible to vote at the Republican National Convention!

Speculation is increasing that Newt Gingrich may drop out of the race. He will probably suspend his campaign and keep his pledged delegates in order to give himself an important role at the Republican National Convention.

  • This Saturday, Republicans will vote again in Missouri’s caucus. The Republicans already had a primary there on February 7 and Santorum won every county across the state. No delegates were awarded in the primary, but Santorum hopes to repeat his success in the Missouri caucus.
  • On Sunday, Puerto Rico will be the final US Territory to vote.
  • This is quickly followed by the Illinois primary on Tuesday. Oddsmakers at inTrade give Romney a 71% to 75% chance of winning in Illinois. This would probably be his first victory in the continental United States since Super Tuesday.
  • Then the following Saturday is the Louisiana primary. InTrade gives Santorum a 72% to 85% chances of winning there.
     Other Key Dates

    • Cancelled PBS/NPR Debate, Monday, March 19 at 9pm ET, Portland, OR
    • Republican National Convention, August 27-30, Tampa, FL
    • Democratic National Convention, September 3-6, Charlotte, NC
    • Presidential Debate, Wednesday, October 3, Univ. of Denver, Denver, CO
    • Vice-Presidential Debate, Thursday, October 11 at Centre College, Danville, KY
    • Presidential Debate, Tuesday, October 16, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
    • Presidential Debate, Monday, October 22 at Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
    • General Election, Tuesday, November 3

    Color Key  
    Romney: Orange
    Santorum: Green
    Gingrich: Purple
    Paul: Gold
    Rick Perry: Blue
    Not voted: Grey

    States Won
    Rick Santorum: IA CO MN MO-primary TN OK ND KS AL MS
    Newt Gingrich: SC GA
    Ron Paul: VI

    Next Contests  
    Mar 17: MO-caucus
    Mar 18: PR
    Mar 20: IL
    Mar 24: LA
    Apr  3: MD DC WI  
    Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
    May  8: IN NC WV
    May 15: NE OR
    May 22: AR KY
    May 29: TX
    Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
    Jun 26: UT

For Sleeper Candidate The End May Be Near After All

According to the odds makers at inTrade, Speaker Newt Gingrich is more likely than not to be the next Republican candidate to drop out.

It seems not too long ago that Gingrich was viewed (at least by himself) as the inevitable nominee:

Jake Tapper interview of Newt Gingrich, Dec. 1, 2011
Tapper: You are going to be the nominee?
Gingrich: I’m going to be the nominee. It’s very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I’m going to be the nominee.

What caused this change of fortunes? Why does it look now like Newt Gingrich may suspend his campaign.

  • Georgia: Before Super Tuesday, Newt Gingrich said winning his home state of Georgia would be critical to continuing his campaign as a serious candidate. On Tuesday, he bettered his opponents, but failed to secure a majority. According to Eric Ostermeier, Gingrich’s anemic result (47% of the vote) “ties John McCain for the second lowest home state tally for a major GOP presidential candidate since 1972, besting only Pat Robertson.” As our readers will recall, neither McCain nor Robertson went on to be elected President.
  • Kansas: Unlike Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Gingrich cannot call Kansas his home. Kansas will be voting this Saturday (along with 3 US Territories) and Gingrich had hoped to contest this state and planned an extensive campaign schedule accordingly. However, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported yesterday that Gingrich has cancelled all of his appearances in that state. He no longer had a realistic chance of prevailing in Kansas and decided to bet all the marbles on Alabama and Mississippi who vote this coming Tuesday March 12. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Gingrich’s abrupt switch of travel plans reflected the grim political map that he faces in the weeks ahead.”
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    Alabama and Mississippi: The Gingrich campaign told the Wall Street Journal that they must win Alabama and Mississippi in order to remain viable. However, it is not clear that Gingrich can win Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday even if he concentrates all of his efforts on these two states. Rick Santorum’s Super PAC is hotly contesting these two states. According to Alabama State University’s new poll, Rick Santorum has a substantial lead with 23% of the vote, Mitt Romney is second with 19%, and Newt Gingrich is a distant third with 14%. According to the odds makers at inTrade, Gingrich has only a 15% chance of winning Alabama and a 23% chance of winning Mississippi.

  • AIPAC and Super Tuesday: The Alabama State University poll was taken before Super Tuesday, so it might be understating Santorum’s margin of victory. Gingrich’s results on Super Tuesday were less than inspiring, and his appearance that day at the AIPAC meeting was best described as confused. He fell asleep while waiting for his satellite feed to be connected, and seemed unaware that he was expected to have prepared remarks (just like the earlier remarks by Santorum and Romney).
  • Key: Gingrich purple, Santorum green, Romney orange, Paul yellow, Perry blueThe South: Even if Gingrich’s bet pays off and somehow he wins in Alabama or Mississippi by concentrating on those states, he has really defined himself as a regional candidate and there aren’t that many states left to vote in that area, so the road forward is unclear.
  • Delegate Count: Key to the nomination are the delegates to the Republican National Convention. Newt Gingrich trails far behind Mitt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. He will probably get a few more delegates in the South but not enough to get a majority of the delegates. His only hope at the convention would be if no one candidate had a majority of the delegates, allowing Gingrich to play the role of a king-maker or a spoiler. However, by continuing in the race, Gingrich splits the anti-Romney vote in winner-take-all states like New Jersey. This increases the chances that Romney will be able to reach the critical threshold of 1,144 delegates making Gingrich’s delegates meaningless. Nate Silver‘s mathematical analysis indicates that Santorum could gain 11 times more than Romney without Gingrich in the race.

I expect that Gingrich will stay in the race until Tuesday’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi (or perhaps the March 24 primary in Louisiana) and end his campaign on the high note. Officially, his campaign would be “suspended” so his delegates to date would still be bound to him and give him an important role in case of a brokered Republican National Convention.

Storm-tossed South rises… for more government

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: “It should have some spending cuts as a down payment on controlling the size of our federal government.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Richmond, Virginia: “We’ve had to bring this president kicking and screaming to the table to cut spending.”

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio: “It’s time for us to get serious about how we’re spending the nation’s money.”

These Republicans, along with others in Congress and statehouses like Trenton and Madison, demand smaller government and lower spending, yet they have not complained about the federal government’s aid to the Republican-dominated Southern states ravaged by storms and tornadoes that left 350 people dead.

More after the jump.
“They have been very proactive and very reactive to our requests,” Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, a northern Alabama Republican, told The New York Times.

Aderholt was praising the Obama administration’s response to the storms, mainly through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When the president visited Tuscaloosa, Ala., the hardest hit area in the region, Obama said, “We’re going to make sure that you’re not forgotten and that we do everything we can make sure that we rebuild.”

Obama signed a disaster declaration for Alabama on Thursday, April 28, 2011, and subsequently signed disaster declarations for Georgia and Mississippi.

FEMA administrator W. Craig Fugate explained that the declarations sought by these states mean that the federal government will pay 75 percent of the uninsured costs to repair public buildings; that residents can qualify for modest recovery grants; and that businesses can apply for low-interest loans.

FEMA also assigned liaison officers to Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, a spokesman said.

Aderholt, a veteran House member who seems more reasonable than extremist Republicans, is not resisting the government’s aid to Alabama and the other southern states. Most of them are represented by Republicans in the Senate, the House and their respective governor’s offices.

Probably some people wish that Obama had rejected these disaster declarations in the spirit of shrinking government. If Republicans want less government, why would they accept federal aid for storm relief?

Back in Washington, the GOP House and Senate members from these states have been plotting to eliminate programs that help all Americans generally and big cities specifically.

Never did they express such urgent concern when they voted to invade two fragmented countries one after the other and cut taxes for the wealthy.

The hypocrisy is glaring, but the disasters plaguing the South show that even southern states need government. The only effective means of resolving America’s many problems is to involve government, directly or indirectly.

We all certainly recognize that there are many problems with government.

Ronald Reagan’s proclamation that “Government is the problem” distorts the situation. Government is “a” problem when it does not carry out its responsibilities properly. Did Reagan do his job or was he “the problem” for eight years?

The same question can posed to Boehner, Cantor and Graham.