Amy Schnelle’s Case Shows What Happens To People Cut Off From Medicaid

“She had a whole lot of seizures because one of the medicines didn’t come through. Once you stop your medicine so abruptly you go into a tailspin of seizures.”



A Tennessee woman died from seizures less than six months after the government stopped paying for her medical coverage.

Amy Schnelle, 31, a former factory worker, received medical coverage, which helped her become seizure-free thanks to a powerful drug paid for by her Medicaid coverage, reported WATE TV.

But the Social Security Administration sent Schnelle a notice in September that they would no longer be covering her medical expenses because she was well enough to go back to work.

She was not.

The factory worker was unable to afford the $1,200 monthly costs for the medicine that kept her violent fits at bay and she appealed the government’s decision while at the same time requested the drug manufacturers to provide her with free samples.

She wrote to her congressman, Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN), who agreed to resume her benefits in January 2017. But it was too late as Schnelle had already relapsed in October without her full supply of drugs.

In February 2017, Schnelles’ mother Sylvia got an urgent message from her daughter’s apartment stating she was having a “bad” seizure. But when she got there, Schnelle was already dead.

“Amy was on her stomach and she had already died,” Sylvia Schnelle said. “She died from a seizure.”

Although Schnelle had already started taking her medications from January, her mother insists the four-month interruption had resulted in her daughter’s death.

“She had a whole lot of seizures because one of the medicines didn’t come through,” she said. “Once you stop your medicine so abruptly you go into a tailspin of seizures and you don’t come out of it.”

“I don’t think my Amy would have died if there wasn’t a cut in her medicine,” she added.

Schnelle is just one case of what happens when patients are cut off from their medical coverage abruptly. Under the new so-called American Health Care Act, also known as  Trumpcare, which would phase out Medicaid in just a few years, the future looks really bleak for these vulnerable people.

Under the new GOP “health care plan” endorsed by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, Medicaid, currently an entitlement program, will turn into a block grant. That means every state will have more freedom to run Medicaid programs as they wish — and that includes cutting benefits and eligibility.

About 74 million people are now enrolled in Medicaid, which uses 60 percent of its spending for the elderly and disabled, many of them from middle-class homes. Almost half of Medicaid’s enrollees are children.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlos Barria 

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