Paying for Health Care

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Cuts and discounts are what many local low-income families are facing with their health care. While the state is proposing severe cuts to the Medicaid or medically needy program, a group of drug companies is ready to offer discounts to those without insurance.

Steve Johnson, the CEO and president of Bay Medical Center, says any state cuts will only add to people's health care problems.

"Any cuts to the program will be detrimental. It will drive more providers out of the business. At the end of the day you'll have less people taking care of patients and you have not solved the problem."

Johnson says if patients aren't able to afford regular doctor visits, they'll end up in local ERs.

"It will affect everybody from the infant all the way to the grandmother."

The state cuts also limit prescription coverage, but a new discount drug card for those younger than 65 and don't have medical insurance could help.

Laura Gould, the supervisor at the Bay Medical Pharmacy, says the program is great for everyone who needs help paying for medicine.

"It's amazing. We have prescriptions called in all day long, and by the end of the week we'll have a good number we have to return to stock where people could not afford to come in and pick up their medicines."

The card called Together Rx is sponsored by 10 drug companies and offered discounts to about 275 different brand name and generic drugs.

"We have young people, especially with children, who work all day that don't have any private insurance with their workplaces, and this could help them."

You can learn if you're eligible for the free discount card online at The website also lists several pharmacies like Bay Medical, which comply with the discount cards that go into effect February 1.