A lot of what is likely to happen when health care expansion comes before the legislature again will be in how the issue is framed.
I know how I hope it is framed. I hope it is framed as mission and not maybe. Instead of “we will see if it can be worked out” I would like to see a shared recognition that we can no longer allow it not to be worked out. The consequences on multiple levels are untenable and can no longer be accepted. It is a human disaster and only promises to get worse. It is no longer a matter of simply the uninsured needing coverage. That is very true but Tennessee deserves coverage. It, more than ever, is far more than a debate about political interests. It is a question of moral necessity long ignored, long rationalized away.
What I need to see from the legislature and for that matter from the governor is persistence. I have seen their plan but I have seen very little commitment from any of them (with notable exceptions) over the last two years that says this is something worth fighting for even if the fight is hard. This plan is going to hit some snags. There are obstacles ahead and to be brutally honest I am afraid they will quit when things get tough. Right now I think they are convinced this is worth the political risk, that in fact, it offers a chance of real political victory. What will they do if it starts to appear the plan puts them at political risk or embarrassment? I honestly don’t know.
Bill Haslam destroyed his credibility forever with many people when he first mismanaged and then deserted the fight for Insure Tennessee. I am absolutely convinced of the integrity of people like Richard Briggs and Doug Overby and others. The Republican party has not earned the same faith.
Don’t just share the arguments for expansion with your legislators share your stories and share your faith. Tell them it is about a mission for a Tennessee you think we all deserve.
Tell them you know people who fight every minute of every day to survive and maintain the quality of life that all of us strive for and deserve.
Ask them to join the the fight. Ask them to help win a war too long fought.
Tell them to close the coverage gap and leave no one behind.