Scenes from the health-care struggle in Jefferson City 

Page 8 of 8

Indeed, the Republicans allow any health-care compromise to slip through their fingers.

Senate leaders scramble to appoint their members for compromise discussions on Wednesday afternoon. By noon on Thursday, Republican House leaders haven't bothered. They don't even keep the lights on until the end of the business day; they adjourn the House at 4 p.m. On the other side of the building, the Senate continues discussions until 3 a.m. and attaches health-care provisions to another bill.

On Friday, the last day of the session, House Republicans sit on the Senate's bill. No debate. No vote.

Game over.


On a late spring afternoon, Adrain Graham sits at her family's dining table, still wearing the pink scrubs she wore to work that day. Along the wall, fish dart around a large tank that her fiancé bought to relax her when she was stuck in the house for months after surgery, unable to work, unable to expose her skin to the sun.

She has photos of her burned flesh, scorched and weeping like candle wax. She has a $30,000 hospital bill on a table in the family room, too.

After she was out of work for months, she explains, her income dropped enough that she qualified for emergency Medicaid coverage. But that will expire this month. When she says she's disappointed that legislators failed to expand health coverage, there's confusion in her voice. Even her meager salary would likely have made her ineligible for an expansion that the Republicans fought as too generous. She just doesn't understand how elected leaders could have passed up a deal that would have helped so many people — people who are in even tighter circumstances than herself.

Graham needs another skin graft on her shoulder, but she can't afford it without insurance. She can't afford the medication that mutes the pain from the nerve damage on her left side, either. If her symptoms go untreated, she may not be able to work.

"The pain I'm in, what am I going to do?" she wonders.

Icet doesn't have any advice for adults like Graham.

"That a good question," he says in his office after hearing about her predicament.

Thinking it over, the always upright Representative leans back in his chair, resting uneasily in an awkward silence.

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