Medicaid cuts: feeling the "ill effects"

By Anna Yee

June 25, 2012 Updated Jun 25, 2012 at 7:50 PM CDT

PEKIN, Ill. -- Patricia Earhart is disabled, on a fixed income, and relies on Medicaid to help pay for this bin full of prescriptions.

But now she says she will have to re-prioritize her life, after the State restructured the Medicaid system more than a week ago.

"What's that mean for me?"said Earhart. "That's a lot of less of things. Once in a while we try to go out to eat and that, but we're not going to be able to do that. And for the food, we're going to have to spend less."

The Medicaid package contains more than $2.7 billion in taxes and cuts, like the state's subsidy for the federal prescription Part D drug program.

That translates to about 100 dollars less a month for people like Earhart.

"We can't do it," said Earhart. "A hundred dollars less a month is a lot. If I didn't own my house, I'd really be hurting."

She and her son Curtis Beeney have taken their concerns to state offices and representatives, but so far had no luck.

"I'm very doubtful," said Beeney. "This is the best step we can take is getting our voice heard. That's one thing they can't take away from us."

Social Security reps say they can't offer much more information about the cuts yet, but they do expect more people to start applying for the "Extra Help/Low Income Subsidy."

Both Tazewell and Peoria County governments are also offering a prescription drug discount card for residents whose insurance doesn't cover their medicines.

"Right now we're averaging about 25% discounts on those that get presented and qualify," said Shauna Musselman, Assistant Director of Peoria Co. Human Resources. "Basically, it just guarantees the lowest price available on that prescription drug."

That's something Earhart says she will look into, while she and her son say they will continue to make their voices heard in the community, and eventually in the capitol.

To join their effort contact Earhart at (309) 353-0133.

For more information on Social Security's Extra Help program, call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit http://ssa.gov/prescriptionhelp/forms_notices.htm.

For more information on local prescription drug discount cards, contact your County Government.

Peoria County: http://www.peoriacounty.org/countyboard/naco/
Tazewell County:
11 S 4th St # 432 Pekin, IL 61554
(309) 477-2274

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