My name is Larry Drain. This is the first in a series of letters you will be receiving over the next couple of months written by myself or my wife Linda. Our concern is Tenn Care expansion, rather it be the Tennessee Plan Governor Haslam has talked about or another alternative. We hope to explain why we think it is a good idea and convince you to support it when it comes to the General Assembly at the start of 2015.
You may be familiar with our story. http://wp.me/p4E9xY-3W. Briefly my wife and I separated to maintain her Tenn Care after we found out without Tenn Care expansion my retirement income (which still leaves us far below the poverty level) would be enough to cost her her Tenn Care and access to the medication and treatment she needed to stay alive and have any quality of life at all. On December 26 we will have been separated for one year. I would be glad to speak with you further about our story if you think it would help.
Several months ago I started writing Governor Haslam on an almost daily basis asking him to consider expanding Tenn Care (http://deargovernorhaslam.wordpress.com). Those letters can be read at the link above. On November 10 I delivered to Governor Haslam’s office a petition asking for Tenn Care expansion signed by over 47,000 people..
The decision you will be facing is one of the most important you will ever make. Studies show that as many as 900 people will die in Tennessee this year from lack of insurance. Michelle Fardan’s daughter Monika was one. Monika was 34 old. She had a broken toe and literally died from the complications from it. She died from being poor. It shouldn’t have happened. It didn’t need to happen. No one else needs to die.
The voices of people in the coverage gap largely go unheard. The coverage gap are those people who don’t make enough money to qualify for insurance through the ACA, who would qualify for insurance had Tenn Care been expanded but because of Tennessee’s failure to accept federal funding for expansion are without insurance. Close to 60% of them are the working poor. Many others are disabled. I am in the coverage gap. I make $5000 too little. I have been told I need an operation but without insurance that will never happen.
I don’t know if you know any of your constituents in the coverage gap but if you don’t I hope you will attempt to meet them. The decision you will soon be making is so important.
You are in my and my wives prayers. Thank you so much for your time.
Until the next letter.