Sept. 18, 2003
Medicaid bureaucracy not responsible to electorate
To the editor:
I have only recently had time to respond to Ms. Rica Lewis-Payton's criticism of me for complaining to one of the gubernatorial candidates about the government bureaucracy. First, I do want to say that Ms. Payton has done an excellent job of managing the Medicaid system and it is certainly in much better shape now than it was before she took over.
However, she is protesting too much about my criticism of the "double secret meetings" held by the Medicaid system when they change medication policy. I had written her to ask her to reconsider about the fact that Medicaid requires extensive paperwork to be done on cancer patients who require certain narcotics for pain relief. Her response initially and also in her letter to the editor was at best hypersensitive.
On both occasions, she has said that I could contact one of the pharmacists for the Medicaid commission. What good would this do when she has already basically informed me that they are not going to change policy?
My criticism is not aimed at her as a person. It is aimed at the fact that members of bureaucracy are not responsible to the electorate. They are responsible only to those people who appoint them and any attempt to dissuade them from a decision that they might have already made is useless.
I might as well be trying to appeal a change in policy to the local pigeon flock as to persuade a state employed, unelected pharmacist, or for that matter a Medicaid executive, to change a decision that they have already made. I was not aware of any Web site that had anything to do with the Medicaid commission, but I am frankly too busy filling out Medicaid forms and jumping through other government hoops to be able to sit down on a daily or weekly basis to review Medicaid policy changes at a Web site.
My request was a simple one. I simply asked that cancer patients be given some consideration in making it easier for them to obtain pain relief. There have been problems with physicians prescribing narcotics when they should not have done so, but surely there is some exclusion that can be made for the purposes of compassion in treating those unfortunate individuals who suffer from terminal cancer.
John C. Halbrook, M.D.
Country lost legend in Johnny Cash
To the editor:
The legendary Johnny Cash cashed in his "man in black" suit for his robe of white this past Friday morning in a Nashville hospital. Johnny, who hailed from the state of Arkansas, was one of the early singers who walked into Sam Phillips' studio in Memphis, Tenn., and started a colorful career in country and rock-a-billy music. Cash was chosen in 1980 as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The list of Johnny Cash hits includes "Folsom Prison Blues", "I Walk the Line", "Hey, Porter", "Cry, Cry, Cry" " I Still Miss Someone," and many others.
To bring the Johnny Cash legacy closer home to Meridian, one needs to look back to December 1961, when Mrs. Jimmie Rodgers (Carrie Rodgers) was laid to rest in the Oak Grove Cemetery at Bonita. Local florist executive Joe Reeves Sr. said he was reached by phone one night about midnight when a man called from Canada and said, "Hello, sir, I'm Johnny Cash." He told Reeves what he wanted and placed his order for 1,000 red roses for Mrs. Rodger's funeral. Webb Funeral Home handled the local arrangements.
Hundreds of your citizens can probably recall that the 1,000 red roses were assembled and arranged into a music note.
The arrangement certainly gained a lot of respect for Mr. Joe Reeves Sr., as well as Rogers Florist. As I recall, the roses reflected the word, "Mother," meaning of course, that Jimmie Rodgers was the "Father of Country Music" and this flower arrangement brought home that Mrs. Rodgers would be "the Mother of Country Music." It was a very fitting tribute from Johnny Cash.
May God bless his memory. Johnny Cash will be missed.
On Christian music
To the editor:
I would like to respond to the letter ("Christian music," The Meridian Star, Sept. 14, 2003) that was submitted by Billy and Marjorie Nabors. As a Christian I would like to stand and say with them that I hope everyone who chose to take 102.1 "The Light" off the air will re-think their decision.
I was very excited when I heard that Z102 had been changed to 102.1 "the Light." It really made me think that the people of Meridian cared. I am only 20 years old and it is hard for someone my age to find good Christian music to listen to without going out and buying a bunch of CD's. I was glad that we finally got a station that I could listen to and enjoy.
Now I, along with many others, do not have that anymore. I hope and pray that this station will be put back on the air. I also hope that the people of Meridian will do the same.