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End of Mo. prescription program forces many to foot the full bill for medication

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Northland senior is among tens of thousands now forced to pay full-price for medication due to the new cuts in the Missouri budget.

State lawmakers voted last month and the Missouri Rx program saw its end July 1. The cuts are affecting nearly 64,000 senior Missourians including 74-year-old Marjorie Prunty. She said, "It’s over. That’s why I’m saying they’ve murdered me by their decision."

James Stowe is the Aging and Adult Services Director at the Mid-America Regional Council. Stowe said, "It’s very difficult to see people struggling with this issues. There just really isn’t a lot that’s available to them."

Because of a reduced state budget, lawmakers voted last month to end the Missouri Rx program which helped those who didn't quite qualify for Medicaid but who don't make enough to completely support themselves. Stowe said, "We’ve had a lot of calls from concerned individuals in the Kansas City region, and they tell us their personal stories."

Personal stories like Marjorie's: kidney failure, arthritis, and a history of stomach cancer. She said, "I’m going to die. Not only me, but many others, because of that decision they made." The grandmother of 3 has spoke with assistants in her legislators' offices, but feels the voting politicians can't relate. "They’re not poor people. They don’t know what it’s like. They can’t identify with us. They don't’ know what it’s like to be in pouring rain and wait in an electric wheelchair with a lot of pain for your food that you have to eat."

Lawmakers can vote to reduce the cuts or reverse this decision in January's legislative session, but that doesn't provide much comfort for Marjorie. "I'm not going to make it that long, honey. I wish I could -- not until January." To her lawmakers, she says, "Please do not kills us. We have to have our medications."