A Mississippi Republican showed some true GOP values recently when he issued a completely disgusting, heartless response to a mother in desperate need for assistance in getting her daughter diabetes medicine. This is something that no parent (or child in need) should ever have to endure.
Nicole Nichols’ daughter is only 8 years old and is combatting Type 1 diabetes. Nichols’ daughter had been receiving supplies for her insulin pump through Medicaid for the last three years, but that all changed six months ago when it was outsourced to another supply company that Medicaid would not cover. She explained:
“We have recently begun having a lot of problems with Medicaid/CHIPS coverage for the essential diabetes supplies needed, not only to keep our kids healthy, but to keep them alive. 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 to stay healthy and, quite honestly, alive!”
Nichols had already searched through 23 companies to see if one was covered by Medicaid, and she was running out of options. In need of help to pay for the medicine, Nichols finally mustered up the courage to send her state reps a letter asking for guidance and assistance. This was her full letter:
While two other representatives responded nuetrally, it was State Rep. Jeffrey Guice’s response that was beyond disappointing. He basically laughed in her place and sent her a big “F*** you.” His insensitive reply was shaming, telling her to buy her own medication (as if she hadn’t already tried other alternatives):
“I am sorry for your problem. Have you thought about buying the supplies with money that you earn?”
Nichols was disgusted and heartbroken at his response, but realized that this behavior was so typical of the GOP. She said:
“I was flabbergasted that [Guice] had the wherewithal to push the send button. Once I had a chance to think about it, I wasn’t surprised at all. I grew up in Mississippi as awful as that sounds.”
Guice clearly had made up his mind about Nichols and her family because they had a child on Medicaid, and figured they were just looking for a handout. That couldn’t have been further from the truth – Nichols’ husband (who also has Type 1 diabetes), has two jobs. Nichols is as advocate and also manages and online community for families dealing with this condition. Nichols and her husband work hard, but even with both parents working multiple jobs, the family is struggling to come up with the $2,000+ monthly out-of-pocket expenses for her daughter’s medication and supplies.
Nichols wasn’t willing to let it end there with Guice. In response to his nasty email, Nichols educated him on what Type 1 diabetes treatment actually costs. She outlined:
- 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 stirps: $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.
Nichols said, “Insulin alone amounts to my house payment every month. Insulin literally keeps this little girl alive.”
When Guice was confronted about his email response, Guice first said, “I don’t do interviews” but he changed his mind. As Nichols’ story went viral, Guice issued a statement:
“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.”
Apology or not, Guice’s reaction was heartless and unhelpful. He hadn’t even tried to understand Nichols’ predicament and was quick to jump to conclusions. Nichols ended her response to Guice with this epic mic drop:
Fortunately, because Nichols’ story has spread, she was contacted by Medicaid and they’re working to get her the coverage for the treatment her daughter needs. As for Guice, he might or might not have learned a lesson here. But he is up for reelection in 2019, and with any luck this incident just might haunt him.
Featured image via Mississippi House of Representatives and Nicole Nichols