According to emails circulating on social media, a state lawmaker told a woman to use her own money to buy her diabetic child's lifesaving medicine, instead of asking the state for help.
Nicole Nichols runs a Facebook page, called Living in the World of Test Strips, as a community support page for parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes. She's also an advocate that works with the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi.
On Monday, she emailed the House of Representatives because she said kids with Medicaid/CHIPS coverage aren't getting the necessary diabetes supplies needed to keep them healthy.
"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," she wrote in the email. "Is there someone in the legislature that can and will help these children stay healthy?"
Nichols was not expecting the response she got back from State Representative Jeffrey Guice, of Ocean Springs.
He wrote, "I am sorry for your problem. Have you thought about buying the supplies with money that you earn?"
“Appalled and frustrated don't quite cover it,” said Nicole Nichols. She still gets upset every time she reads the representative's email.
Nichols immediately posted the response to her Facebook page, sparking outrage on social media.
Here is just some of the feedback Nichols has received from her supporters:
What a pathetic excuse for an elected official.
This makes me so mad I am having trouble typing. In today's America, elected officials celebrate their own ignorance as their chief qualification. May Mr. Guice never discover the financial and emotional toll of diabetes personally. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Not even him.
Wow. May he never know what it is like to decide weekly between groceries and insulin...because you have no insurance or an OUTRAGEOUS deductible so that you can AFFORD insurance. His response shows ignorance on more than one level.
I am horrified that you received such a cold response from my Legislator and cousin Jeff Guice. Health care in this state doesn't work for anyone not employed by the State. This is largely the fault of our lawmakers and the health care industry, and certainly not the fault of parents who desperately seek to help their children with illnesses. I hope Jeff Guice was simply having a bad day and that he will be inclined to offer a real apology and even more importantly work to find a solution to our health care crisis. You have my support.
“There is anger and it's very deep in my bones right now, they are shaking, but he is not going to bring it out," said Nichols. "This is about what the kids deserve and what kids need to be healthy."
Nichols also wrote Guice back, saying in part, "Thank you for your incredibly rude response sir. I can see exactly how out of touch you really are with the residents of Mississippi. And I might 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 Guice."
We tracked down Representative Guice at the State Capitol on Tuesday, but when we asked him for a comment, we were told, "I don't do interviews", and he even slammed the door in our face.
“I don't want an apology for him," said Nichols. "I don't think he has it in him to give a genuine apology. I would like for him to sit in a room full of these kids and see what they go through every day.”
We are continuing to investigate this story and will have much more on this later today.
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