I know a person…. The invisible casualties of Insure Tennessee

I have a friend who I asked not to quit. I am scared for her. Things are not okay.

Many people are praying for her right now.   They love her and right now that is what they can give.   Many of them would give money if they had it,  but most don’t.   All of them wish there was an answer,  an open door… something they can tell her to hang on for but there are no easy answers.

She has cancer,  bad cancer and she is scared.   She has no insurance and Tennessee has decided to study a little bit more and then maybe come up with an experiment to try that might be an answer sometime later.   She doesn’t have a sometime later.

Her days now are about feeling sick and feeling bad and hoping this day still gives her tomorrow and another tomorrow after that.  She has been a warrior for health care reform in Tennessee.   Legislators know her name.   They have seen her face in the newspapers but none of them have set down and listened.   None of them really care.   They don’t know how scared she is.

She is one of hundreds or thousands of Tennesseans who can’t wait. They are the silent victims of the death of Insure Tennessee at the hands of a legislature that would fight to the death for political gain but then turn their head rather than fight for the dying. They are the daily reminders of the shame that 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now will tar and indelibly stain the legacy of this terrible session. My hope is that when my grandson gets old enough to understand that things will have changed enough that he finds it hard to believe that a small group of people could be so mean and that meanness hurt so many people so bad.

My friend is a kind person. She has never known position or status. Until she got sick she worked all her life and like most of us counted it success if she could pay her bills and put food on the table.

She is a person of faith and that faith had held firm in the worst of times. Prayer is not simply something she does but part of who she is.

She is a courageous person. Way past a courageous person. I wish there had been a way for her to loan at least a little of her courage to the legislature. But she is shaken now. Really badly shaken.

I fear she will be left behind. Maybe she already has been. Many have been if the truth be known.

Maybe at some point life for all of us is more about what we give rather than about what we get. In giving she has been so rich and blessed so many with the witness of her life. If one day no one is left behind it will be because of people like her.

I pray that doctors find answers for her. I pray that God will give her strength and help her to know that in the ways that count she has counted and in the things worth giving she has given far more than her share. Let her know Lord she is loved. And Lord let her know how grateful we are for the friend she has been.

Pray for my friend Tracy. There are so many Tracys out there. They are the real victims of this obscene season of political posturing. Their pain, their suffering knows no political calendar or season. And too many will be left behind. Insure Tennessee was never about the dollars or the politics or the governor or even the speaker. It was about the living of 280,000 human beings and by a legislature more interested in pointing fingers than in holding out a hand.

Let us mourn, let us scream, let us rage for those left behind. But let us honor their lives and the lives of all those facing such scary futures and say NO MORE! NO MORE LEFT BEHIND!

Is it not time for all of us to stand and say no more.


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