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Medicaid still denies 25-year-old quadriplegic woman

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

To Medicaid, Linda Puglisi might be nothing more than a number.

"They don't see I'm a real person," Puglisi said.  "I'm fighting.  I don't want to be on disability.  I don't want Medicaid for the rest of my life."

The 25-year-old woman wants to walk again, something doctors say is possible if she has extensive therapy.

We told you how Medicaid is dropping Puglisi because of her less than $800-a-month disability check.  She makes $30 over the amount required to qualify for Medicaid in Texas, said Randall Ellis, vice president of Legacy Community Health Services.

Legacy and State Representative Garnet Coleman has spent two weeks trying to change Medicaid's mind but to no avail.

"It's very complicated," Ellis said.  "If you think insurance companies are complicated, state agencies are even more complicated and less responsive to needs."

"This has been such a struggle for me," Puglisi said.  "It's one thing after another.  I think things are getting better and it falls apart and I'm staying as strong as I can.  I just need to catch a break."

Legacy and Coleman have gotten Puglisi on a waiting list for a couple of state-funded programs, but that won't get her the therapy she needs to one day walk again.

"One of the waiting lists she's on: there are over 800 people on that waiting list," Ellis said.  "That's 800 Texans that are in need of medical care that are not getting it at the present time."

Medicaid has even told Puglisi she will be losing her wheelchair, her bed and other medical equipment.  What will she do when that happens?

"I don't know," Puglisi said through tears.  "I don't know."

Two things Medicaid can't take away from Puglisi: her faith in God and her desire to walk again.

"He will bring a way," Puglisi said.  "Whether it's through Medicaid, whether it's through a private organization or somebody donating to my recovery, he will bring a way and I believe that with my whole heart."

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