I have come to the reluctant conclusion that I suck at politics. Even worse I think I always will. The things I am most political about are the things that are most personal to me and the personal always seems to be more important to me than the political.
I met Tracy Foster a couple of years ago and was immediately captivated by her humbleness, her faith and her courage. She had cancer of the wrong spot. I can’t even begin to put into words what a barbaric notion that seemed to me then and even more so now. She had bladder cancer and if she just had cervical or breast cancer instead she would qualify for Tenn Care. I will never forget the day in the hallway of the legislature after a committee vote had killed Insure Tennessee when she asked me if that meant she was going to die.
Her insurance company is gofundme and she survives by begging and I can’t tell you the rage that I feel that in a state that basically touts itself as Christian and as prolife that a good and decent person must live that way. And then I realize there are thousands and thousands of Tracy’s out there. Her nightmare is a nightmare God knows how many Tennesseans share.
I never expected much out of the Speaker’s Task Force. As honest as I can be “a plan based on conservative principles” sounded very much like the speaker saying “Cover my ass. For goodness sakes cover my ass….” And I think they did. Whether the plan is accepted or not I think she wins. Tennessee may or may not win but I think she wins.
When I heard that people were going to be phased in, that there was a line I found it so hard to believe that those in greatest need were not first in line. I found myself thrilled at the idea that the coverage gap would finally be closed. Absolutely thrilled. The possible cost appalled me.
I knew enough about Tracy to wonder how much wait she had left. And I wondered how many people would find phase one and phase two a death sentence. I wondered how many Tracy’s had run out of wait.
I don’t think they are going to add those most in need to phase one. There is just no outcry to do that. Mine is a small voice and in the scheme of things not likely to make much of a difference.
Politically it is probably a stupid choice but I can survive political stupidity (personal disclosure I voted for Bill Haslam twice). I need to be okay with me so I will do my best to testify about what seems right to me. I think Tracy, along with thousands of other people, will probably have to wait. I pray everyday that God grants them more wait than I fear they have.
Let others know what you think. In the end I hope all this becomes part of Tennessee history. I hope the day comes where I forget what a cruel time it was for so many.
And I pray that if you have known that cruelty personally or someone you know has suffered we find a long overdue answer that brings life and hope to all who have went so long with neither.