* Remember the story last month about a state employee whose infant son required on oxygen machine to live, but the state insurance program didn’t pay the provider and the county sheriffs showed up to repossess the machine? The machine wasn’t repossessed (I’m told the deputies called in to headquarters and were told to get the heck out of there) and a new oxygen machine provider was found.
Anyway, that mom, Kenea Williams, testified yesterday at a House committee hearing and she brought her little son Kobe with her. Jordan Abudayyeh filed this report…
Lawmakers in the House appropriation committee heard requests Wednesday from state agencies focusing on numbers and cents.
But for the people stuck in the middle of the budget crisis, the politics are personal.
Kobe Williams is 15-months-old and has a condition that leaves him unable to breathe without his oxygen tank.
“Kobe has bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which he needs and requires treatment of oxygen supplementation,” Kenea Williams, Kobe’s mother, said.
Kobe’s mother is a state worker who covers his medical expenses under her state healthcare plan.
“I pay my premiums,” Williams said. “I do my part. Now I feel like the state needs to do their part. They need to pay their bills.”
Without a budget, the state can’t pay all of its bills on time and companies are cutting off patients on the state health plan.
After pleading by Kenea, she says they left the equipment until she could get everything from another provider.
But that provider is 50 miles away from her home and she said she fears the same thing will happen again.
“Eventually, with them losing payment we will lose them also, and I’m out of options,” Williams said.
* More from WCIA…
Williams did not have a lot of options. Hundreds of providers around the state leave notices on doors telling customers they cannot accept some payments or they have to pay up-front.
It’s making people, like Williams, scramble for solutions.
“A struggle. I mean, it was an embarrassment.”
Williams eventually found another company to help her son continue to breathe, but the fear of this happening again, haunts her.
Williams and her son made the trip to the Capitol Wednesday to share their story with lawmakers. She says she hopes she made an impact to speed up the process for others in similar situations.
I hope so, too, but I really doubt it.
* Our good friend Dave Dahl was also at the hearing yesterday and he graciously sent me this raw audio of Ms. Williams’ testimony…