A mental health bill of rights

April 25, 2015 by

hopeworkscommunity:

From the archives

Originally posted on Hopeworks Community:

1.  I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of the severity or numbers of problems or difficulties I may have.
2.  I have a right to be treated with honesty.  I should be able to  expect not to be manipulated into any particular course of treatment.  My questions and concerns should addressed honestly and openly.  The treatment recommended me should be a function of my needs  and not the philosophical tenets or personal prejudices of providers.
3.  I have a right to have access to all the information I need to make informed choices about any treatment I might seek.  The positives and risks of any prescribed medication should openly be explained.  Decisions I make about me should be honored and accepted.
4. I have a right to expect that the treatment recommended for me be a function of my assessed needs and not simply…

View original 536 more words

On the Titanic with Insure Tennessee

April 23, 2015 by

Feds review Tennessee’s uncompensated care funding
http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/industries/health-care/2015/04/22/federal-review-charity-care-funding/26203421/
【from Next Browser】

Feds: Medicaid Expansion failure could cost state | Local News | Times Free Press
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2015/apr/23/medicaidfeds-expansifailure-could-cost-state/300270/
【from Next Browser】

Insure Tennessee is the lifeboat on our Titanic and our legislators would have not to worry about rough waters ahead.

Our legislators would not have us talk about deep water. They seem sure to do so would get them in trouble with the people in the boat and would advocate caution before dealing with those already drowning in the water.

The case for Insure Tennessee has been made so many times it seems redundant to repeat: serves 280,000 without insurance… Federal government picks up the cost…. Hospitals pick up anything left…. Hospitals in real trouble rescued…. Creation of new jobs…. Tennessee taxes back in Tennessee…. An escape clause in case it doesn’t work as expected…. It seems really simple: help a lot of people at no cost with no risk with lots of positive side effects. What is the problem?

The case against Insure Tennessee is also well known. Be careful or someone will accuse you of being soft on Obamacare. Fear and self protection over commitment and good sense. Pettiness and partisan politics over policy and long needed changes.

The articles linked above just drive home the point. The federal government is close to saying they are not going to play anymore. Tennessee may decide to not expand healthcare. But they can no longer count on the federal government to subsidize that choice. 750000000 dollars may be gone. The articles above explain it.

The iceberg is real. People are already in the water and don’t have to be. Without action it can only get worse. Closed eyes and wishful thinking will not solve anything.

It is long past time. Insure Tennessee now.

On a life saved: a long ago post

April 21, 2015 by

This post was originally written 8or 9 years ago. It was a story about a life saved. Insurance saves lives. It is that simple. As Insure Tennessee moves to its next chapter remember. When you read the story of life saved remember the lives that could be saved. Lives can be saved. Speak for those lives. Speak today for what we want tomorrow to be. It is time. Insure Tennessee.

Do you know anyone who died?

I was standing in a line at a fast food restaurant the other day.  I started talking with the lady in front of me.  The conversation ended up being about health care of all things (I’m not quite sure how that happened).  I remarked something about people dying because they didnt have the insurance to seek treatment.  The man in front of us got really angry.  He turned and snarled at me. “Do you know anyone who died?”  I told him I did.  He muttered under his breath.  “Well most of them dont.”

I was astounded by the whole incident.  I wished I had said more.  I didnt really know what to say.  But I think I know now.  I would have told him about a life saved by insurance:  that of my wife.

A little over a year ago it looked very much like she was going to lose her TennCare (Tennessee Medicaid).  I was unemployed and we didnt know what we were going to do.  Our story was no different than thousands of others and not nearly as bad as many.  I was invited to go to the Tennessee State Legislature and testify about TennCare. I had no figures, no statistics nothing like that.  I just wanted them to meet my wife.  My testimony is reprinted below.  Through the grace of God she kept her insurance.  Too many have not.

My name is Larry Drain.  My wife’s name is Linda.  It appears she is one of those getting ready to lose their TennCare.  I want to tell you our story.

7 years ago a good day for Linda was 10-15 grand mal seizures.  There were not too many good days.  She finally got hurt real bad in a seizure.  She fell down a flight of stairs, hit her head on the banister and broke her face.  Literally broke her face.  She looked like I had beaten her half to death with a baseball bat.

They told her what we already knew.  No medicine was going to work.  They wanted her to have brain surgery and after a lot of prayer we finally agreed.  They took her hippocampus and amygdala out.  She came out of the surgery with a whole host of disabilities that she never had before, most of which she still deals with to this day.  Her memory is shot.  She has never seen a rerun.  She many times can’t concentrate and because of that sometimes it is hard for her to learn things.  She loves to read, but sometimes can’t comprehend the words in front of her.  Many times it is hard for her to get the words out that she wants to say.  She could get lost going from one room to the other.   That was just the tip of the iceberg.

After a year the seizures came back and they came back with a vengeance.  4 years ago she was in Vanderbilt Hospital having a hundred seizures a day.  In the last 7 years I have had to quit work 3 times because it was too dangerous for me to be away from home.  The last time was about 3 years ago and I was out of work for about 9 months.  Linda started having what we were told were visual seizures.  Because of this she fell down  the same flight of stairs 5 times in a 3 week period.  We survived simply through God’s grace.

The last close call was this past July when she had 16 seizures in a1.5 day period.  Ended up in the hospital, was also looking at extremely serious stomach surgery, plus dealing with an emotional crisis.

TennCare has been a lifeline in our life.  Because of a tremendous amount of medical care and medication Linda is in the best health of her life right now.  In the last 7 years she has been in the hospital 17 times and went through 5 surgeries.  But she has only had one seizure in the last 4 months…

We have lived in hell, but have finally left.  Without TennCare it wouldn’t have been possible.  The miracle of Linda’s health is not a done deal.  It must be redone each and every day.  We can go back to where we came.  We have much to be thankful for.  So many others are in much worse shape.  For the first time maybe ever hope is more than wishful thinking.  I thank God for he has allowed TennCare to do in our life and I pray each day for his protection in what seems destined to follow.

We have one sword hanging over our head.  Several years ago a neurosurgeon told Linda that she  had another spot on the other side of her brain.  He told her that with succeeding seizures it would get bigger and in time she would no longer be able to care for herself.  He said that more brain surgery was a necessity.  A neurologist told her she had already had so much brain tissue taken out that with another surgery she risked coming out a vegetable.  Without TennCare that sword gets closer and closer to our head.

I will  also pray for each of you tonight, for I would not trade my shoes for your shoes for anything.

Hurt….

April 21, 2015 by

I don’t know anymore.  I am angry.  No maybe more than angry.  Desperate or whatever is past desperate.  Really, really hurt….

Linda got hurt again tonight in a seizure.  I wasn’t there.  She woke up with blood all over her face, her glasses broke and ruined on the floor.  I don’t think she can see well enough to function without them.  No idea what to do about that.  No idea where to even begin…..None.

I haven’t seen her yet.  She warned me her face looks bad.  Will see her tomorrow.  Two days ago hurt herself bad in another seizure.  Cut herself bad under her arm.  Tore off a couple of layers of skin.  Doctors are afraid it will get infected.  Told her it would take weeks to heal.  Looks more like she was shot than anything.  She is in a lot a lot of pain.

A doctor has signed a form saying she needs a caretaker.  Because of seizures getting a lot worse real quick it just isn’t safe.  Found out today government will not allow me to be that caretaker.

We are both scared.

Insure Tennessee has died in this legislative session.  We have to wait…Don’t know how long.  I believe we will win.  I know we will never stop but long term victory just doesn’t help tonight.  I wonder how many people tonight in much harder circumstances than us are worried about whether or not they will see new days or if new days will ever really come. 

Sometimes even the greatest courage meets fatigue.  The last couple of weeks have been many battles and the next days will be the same.  Perhaps it is self serving and kind of whiny but Linda and I could both use a minute of mercy

Pray for us.  I believe it matters.  Pray for Linda’s safety.  Pray for a miracle with glasses.  Pray for the so many worse off than us.  Pray that leaving Nashville will not allow our legislators any rest from Insure Tennessee.  Pray for justice and maybe kinder times.

I know I am ready….

The job description of a Tennessee state legislator

April 19, 2015 by

Your job description is justice.  I really think it is that simple.  Your job is through your decisions, your leadership and your modeling to give the people of this state the fairest chance availible to live a good and decent life.  Period.  Everything else is gravy.

How can there be justice without healthcare justice?? Where is the justice when some people are disposable??  Where is the justice in a society that treats the less priveliged members of it as though they were burdens and cost too much.  If justice for you, for me, for anyone is purchased with the misfortune of others do any of us have any real justice??  Are not we all diminished??

How has justice been served? For whom have you stood up for this session? For what have you stood for? How is Tennessee better for you having been here? Have you done your job? What is the legacy that you have given this state?

No one should die because justice was yours to do and you failed.

Do justice.

Insure Tennessee.

You lost by getting your way

April 19, 2015 by

Dear Senator Ramsey and Rep Harwell :

You got your way, but you lost.  Insure Tennessee,  barring a miracle will not make the floor. In the long run though you have lost. You took an issue and created a movement.  You created a rage, a strong feeling on the part of thousands and thousands of Tennesseans that their elected officials have forgotten who they work for. You have ignored the welfare of 280,000 Tennesseans. In a state where 70% of the people support  Insure Tennessee,  where virtually every newspaper, every civic organization,  every business organization, every health organization,  many faith  based organizations,  almost every public figure or local leader has spoken in favor of Insure Tennessee your voice, your leadership has  been absent.  In your absence someone like Todd Gardenhire has become the symbol of the legislative response to the challenge of  280,000 uninsured Tennesseans and your entire body has been left to look petty, hateful, and ridiculous.

You have a program that saves lives,  means jobs to Tennessee,  stabilizes a health system choking on uncompensated care that will not cost the state of Tennessee a penny with an exit strategy should it  not be as advertised proposed by a Republican governor to a Republican legislature and you spend 2 days debating on the floor whether or not the Bible should be the official book of the  state.  Insure Tennessee has yet to see the floor.   Perhaps if your members had concerned themselves more with the principles in that book it would have.

You have changed Tennessee. Your policy of ignoring the voices of thousands  and thousands  of Tennesseans and hoping they would go away has been an abysmal failure.  All the rhetoric just seems hollow and self serving. This is not an issue of Obamacare or fears about the threats of Americans for Prosperity or other organizations that think they can buy Tennessee with big money or threaten it with a big stick.   It is about justice and a fair chance at life that 280,000 Tennesseans have been waiting  for way too long.   It doesn’t matter how many people in little red tee shirts are bused in from other states.

You have truly made a mess.   It is time for you to act as the leaders you are capable  of being.   It is time  for the people to come first.   At long last time for the people to come first.   Do the right thing.   Put people before politics.   Insure Tennessee.   Now!!!!

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

Identity

April 18, 2015 by

image

Behavior is indeed a function of the consequences it produces, but it is also much more than that. It is also a function of identity. Many times, particularly in regard to important issues, we do things seemingly in spite of the consequences, but because we see ourselves as the kind of person who does these things. Who we think we are has a lot to do with how we behave in any given situation.

We tend to act in ways that confirm our sense of who we are. Research in social psychology has many times over proven this. Any change which is in direct conflict with our sense of identity tends to be unsuccessful. When we start to identify changes with us becoming more of the person we aspire to be then those changes gain a lot more energy. We need to begin to see ourselves as being the kind of person who does the things we would like to habitually come to do.

This is part of the reason that those who self identify as being “in recovery” do better than those who dont. It gives a longer frame of reference. If you are “in recovery” you are more prone to look on bad times, even if they are very bad, as still offering the opportunity to gain skills to be successful in life. An identity based on what you can become inspires effort and persistence in the most challenging of times.

The idea of recovery is more than about changed behavior. It is about a new identity for people whose previous identity was based on the failures they had in life. It is about buying into a new story of what life can be and what you can become. Identity really does count.

Teaching the president a lesson : On sacrificing 280,000 to make a point

April 18, 2015 by

Governor: Call new special session on Insure Tennessee
http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/editorials/2015/04/18/call-special-session-insure-tennessee/25967287/
【from Next Browser】

The link above talks about 10 reasons to pass Insure Tennessee. Taken together they give an overwhelming case to do the right thing and Insure Tennessee. They demolish the stale talking points against Insure and give lie to the sham argument this has anything to do with the practicality of this plan.

It has only been about one thing from the start.

“President Obama you cannot push us around. We are prepared to teach you not to try and push us around even if we have to use 280,000 Tennessee lives to do so. We categorically refuse to let you be successful in Tennessee, regardless of the human or financial cost. Nothing is more important than that.”

Take away the fancy words and political jargon and that is the sum total of the case against Insure Tennessee.

Their are words for those who try to make political advantage on the backs of the misery of others. None of them are pleasant. If they were doctors they would be guilty of malpractice. If they were lawyers they would be disbarred. Up to now in Tennessee they simply get reelected.

It is time to Insure Tennessee. Rather in this session or special session it is time. The lesson is not Barack Obamas to learn. It is those legislators who through political partisanship, ideological blindness or simple cowardice are willing to let 280,000 suffer and if need be die to prove a point or to protect their political position that need to learn.

Tennessee is better than you give us credit for. Insure Tennessee now. We deserve a better you. In the words of the song: We ain’t never, ever ever going to let no one turn us around. Never..

Insure Tennessee now.

Recovery Convictions

April 18, 2015 by

Manage bad times… Recognize. Be honest. See them coming. Maintain perspective.   Don’t  make them bigger than what they  are. They are already big enough.   Don’t make them longer  than what they are.   They are long enough. Don’t make them about more than they are. They are about enough right now. Prevent what you can prevent.   Avoid what you can avoid. Cope with what you can’t.   Survive what  you  can’t cope with.   Learn from it all. Know that injury  may last longer than the circumstances that bring it. Be patient.   Life sometimes sucks but know that doesn’t mean everything in it sucks or that it must suck forever.

Promote good times…. Somethings make it better. Become an expert in those things. Plan for them. Do  them on purpose with commitment and  perseverance.  What you cannot make good make better. Value coping.  Don’t dismiss it lightly. Value  success and celebrate it.  The more you do things good for you the better you will do. Life is often a matter of momentum  and  good momentum matters.

Value becoming the kind of person you want to be. Much of what we do is tied up in who we think we are.   As much as you can, as often as you can practice being the person you want to be.   It is never a destination but a process. Even small steps are steps.

Care about other people and allow them to care about you. Life is what we do with others.   Connection matters. Believe you can. Beware accomplices.  Things are already hard enough.   Part of the meaning of life is in the meaning of the people in our life. Seek the opportunity of others even in a sea of deprivation.  Be honest in what is and open to what  can be.

Find meaning and purpose in who you are and what you do.  Live like it matters. The biggest lie and deepest hurt is that it doesn’t.   Human beings  are incredibly strong and resilent creatures.   We can cope with much when we believe it matters to do so. Meaning gives energy and direction to life. Sometimes we must find it. Often we must nurture it.   But always,  always prize and value it.

The conviction of recovery is that better life is possible.   It is not just a special process that challenges some people but a common  challenge  facing us all.

Practicality and purpose: Do poor people cost too much

April 18, 2015 by

image

Much of the argument about Insure Tennessee is not what appears to be. Endless arguments are made about the practicality of the program. Legislators tried to get people to believe that a program that would not cost the state of Tennessee any money, that would help 280,000, and that the state could exit from at any time was an impractical boondoggle that they had to rescue the state from. They assured us they were for a better idea. They just didn’t have one to share.

The debate was a sham from the beginning to end. It was never about practicality, but instead about purpose. To accept the purpose of Insure Tennessee, to say that everyone deserves health insurance, is unfortunately a scary thing for some legislators to publicly say. It means taking a risk of being called “soft on Obamacare”. It means taking the chance of a primary challenge. At the same time saying that the poor don’t deserve insurance makes you look hard hearted and mean. It makes you look like you don’t care.

The argument from practicality is kind of a polite form of bigotry. It is a way to say unpleasant things without really saying them. It is a way to proclaim good heart and good intentions while you are being nasty and hateful. It is a way to proclaim innocence while socking it to the poorest and most vulnerable amongst as a way to politically protect yourself from some feared retribution.

It is why the effort to prove the practicality of Insure never really convinced anyone not already convinced. The people who came on board were those who bought the purpose. For them it was simple. It was important to do and Insure Tennessee was the best idea (actually the only idea) about how to do it.

Insure Tennessee will win when legislators are convinced that health reform is too important not to do. The question will change from can we afford to do to how in the world can we afford not to do it.

We are getting there. The fog churned out so relentlessly about Obamacare is being opened to new light. 280,000 Tennesseans deserve a fair chance and that means access to health care. The stories are beginning to have more traction than the stale talking points that earlier seemed to define the conversation.

It has not been an argument about how to care but rather we should care at all.

It is time for care to win out over fear. It is time for purpose to win out over contrived arguments about practicality. It is time to Insure Tennessee.

The Nashville Tennessean and the war for Insure Tennesse

April 17, 2015 by

We are not that vulgar term you called us, Senator
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2015/04/11/lawmakers-work-tennesseans-insure-tennessee/25613915/
【from Next Browser】

Lack of Insure Tennessee debate inexplicable 
http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/04/13/lack-debate-insure-tennessee-inexplicable/25733935/ 
【from Next Browser】

Legislature’s fear is costing Tennessee thousands of jobs 
http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/columnists/frank-daniels/2015/04/15/legislatures-fear-costing-tennessee-thousands-jobs/25798769/ 
【from Next Browser】

Hospital execs ‘on edge’ after Insure Tennessee failure 
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2015/04/15/hospital-execs-edge-insure-tennessee-failure/25855025/ 
【from Next Browser】

Insure TN is vital for domestic violence survivors 
http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/04/16/help-domestic-violence-survivors-afford-health-insurance/25851923/ 

Famous name among state’s uninsured

http://tnne.ws/1yzk9BB

The simply most amazing thing has happened. The Nashville Tennessean, the largest newspaper in Tennessee, has declared war. They have plainly said that the Tennessee state legislature is guilty of letting down the people of this state. They are guilty of cowardice and political opportunism of the worst sort. They have not listened to the people of this state and left 280000 of our most vulnerable without access to the health care they deserve. The Tennessean will not let them walk away quietly. They intend to spread the story of Insure Tennessee and to expose and share the shame of the legislative response.

They announced their intentions in a full front page Sunday editorial. That editorial is linked above and excerpted below. Also above is linked several of the stories the Tennessean has printed.

The Tennessean is at war and Tennessee has changed.

And yes….We will Insure Tennessee.

“OPINION

We are not that vulgar term you called us, Senator

David Plazas, dplazas@tennessean.com

Senator Todd Gardenhire might as well have called all Tennesseans “a**holes” last week when he leveled the vulgar term at a man in the hallway of the state Capitol.

The man had questioned Gardenhire about how the lawmaker could justify taking taxpayer-funded state health insurance yet vote against Insure Tennessee, which would provide health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans.

That disdain seems indicative about how most Tennessee legislators feel about residents in our state.

The verbal sparring happened on March 31 after the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, which Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, serves on, killed the Insure Tennessee resolution without debate.

Insure Tennessee, by the way, has the support of more than 70 percent of the citizens in the state…..

There’s an arrogance, an entitlement, a disregard for the common citizen and a lack of desire by many state lawmakers to have a robust debate about the most important piece of public policy in the state this year.

Compound that with legislative and state leaders who refuse to lead on this issue, refuse to create coalitions of support, refuse to move beyond partisan politics.

The see-no-evil-except-Obamacare mantra that has poisoned passage of Insure Tennessee shows that lawmakers are more interested in their own preservation than the long-term welfare of this state…..

Daily we will publish stories, op-eds from Middle Tennessee community leaders, letters from ordinary citizens and other commentaries. We will publish the amount of money Tennessee is losing by not having Insure Tennessee, the amount of jobs that won’t be created without it, and the names and contact information of legislative leaders and the Commerce and Labor Committee senators who voted against the resolution (including Gardenhire) or abstained.

There are many decent people, Republicans, Democrats and others, who are being courageous enough to fight for the people of Tennessee.

Senator Gardenhire: We are not a-holes. We are Tennesseans. We expect you and your colleagues to serve our best interests.”

GOD BLESS THE NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN!!!!

The Staggering Cost Of Gun Violence In America

April 16, 2015 by

The Staggering Cost Of Gun Violence In America – http://huff.to/1CJU52N

Is it about politics or policy: the continuing battle for Insure Tennessee

April 16, 2015 by

Hospital execs ‘on edge’ after Insure Tennessee failure
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2015/04/15/hospital-execs-edge-insure-tennessee-failure/25855025/
【from Next Browser】

The failure of Insure Tennessee was not a failure of policy. It was not this versus that. There is no option being debated. It is not a question of what to do as much as it was an argument not to do anything at all. It was not about vision or ethics or concern. It was not about commitment. It was about politics. It was about finding justification for not doing anything. It was about doing the safest thing and not sticking your neck out. It was about a fear of primary challenges and using rhetoric about Obamacare as an excuse not to act. It was not about a leadership that couldn’t help as much being about a leadership that failed to even try to help. It was about legislators that didn’t listen, that didn’t try and that at bottom line just didn’t care. It was about Tennessee at its worst when so many hoped to find it at its best.

It will be up to us to lay bare the urgency of action and the absolutely overwhelming human tragedy of inaction. It is up to us define now. Act now… Care now…Commit now. It is time now to speak again for a special session. It is time to tell the governor Insure Tennessee means nothing without his commitment to fight for it. It is time to tell leaders that their silence is louder than screams. It is time to tell them that not deciding is deciding. And it is time to tell them that an open mind in the face of moral dilemma is neither open or moral. It is time to say that death, sickness and injustice knows no neutrality.

It is time to say Tennessee can and is different. No one is backing up, going away or being quiet. It is time for the peoples house to listen to the people. It is time for business as usual to no longer be usual. It is time to tell the people that represent us that political reality is not as important as civic decency.

Insure Tennessee. We should…We can…We will.

Speak now.

Speak loud.

Speak often.

We will not help you without a documented pattern of failure: Tenn Cares response to Linda

April 16, 2015 by

For the last 2 days we have been battling Tenn Care to get Linda’s cymbalta refilled.  She had been taking the medication for 6 months and was now told she needed a pre authorization to continue it.  The doctor who originally prescribed it was no longer her doctor and refused to do a pre authorization.  Linda had 3 refills left on her medicine.  Our concern was cold turkey withdrawal from cymbalta.  It is documented to be very dangerous, very long with multiple serious consequences.  It could in fact be life threatening.  Our argument to Tenn Care was simple.  You have already okayed the medication.  Pay for one month and give us a chance to find another physician who could deal with the issue of pre authorization with you.  Do not push Linda into unneeded and preventable crisis.

There answer in the end was simple.  No we will not pay for this medication (even though we have already okayed for it for 6 months) unless you can show a documented history of failure with lesser medication.  Even though they had already previously okayed the medicine.  When Linda confronted them with a detailed description of what cold turkey withdrawal would be like for her their response was none of that mattered.  They would not pay for the medication.

We have appealed.  The appeal will take up to 45 days.  We will probably lose.  All we could say was you already said yes, it works, stopping it without medical supervision is dangerous.  She has 3 refills left.  Please cover the medicine.

We have a short term solution though.  A long ago friend heard what was going on and offered to buy a month of medication.  The immediate crisis is over and we are so grateful.

Many people were so helpful.  Rep. Bob Ramsey and his staff.  Senator Becky Ramsey and her staff.  Gordon Bonnyman and the Tennessee Justice Center.  Lisa Primm….. And literally scores of others who offered support and ideas.  May God bless each of you.

A very special thanks to Lynn for the medication.  Your kindness is appreciated.

And as for Tenn Care.  I still don’t understand why you need a documented history of failure on lesser medications for a medication that 6 months prior you approved.  Whatever happened to if it ain’t broken don’t fix it

The clock is ticking…..a plea for Insure Tennessee

April 14, 2015 by

In 2 or 3 weeks this legislative session in Tennessee will be over with.  Insure Tennessee will not have passed.  A bill supported by 70% of the people, virtually every newspaper in the state, virtually every civic organization, virtually every business organization, and virtually every health organization and proposed by a Republican governor with a huge approval rating to a Republican legislature was defeated in a Senate committee with virtually no debate.  280,000 people were left with no answer other than leaders who explained how they couldn’t lead, a governor who disappeared in the midst of the battle, and a parade of legislators who were against everything and for nothing.  What was missed was the urgency of life without health insurance.  It was an urgency those already receiving free health care from the state (like legislators) could never know.  It was the urgency of those sick who without care face growing despair and even death.  It was the urgency of those relying on emergency rooms for care.  It was the urgency of those knowing that nothing can be prevented.  It was the emergency of those who have to choose between financial ruin and basic health care.  It was the urgency of those living with real trauma at the hands of a system that dismisses them as disposable, lazy and who tells them they just need to try harder.  And it is the urgency of people who had finally began to start to believe in a system that had never given them reason to believe only to find out while many had heard few had listened.

It was a session where many senators showed what they really cared about.  It was a session of heroes make no mistake.  But it was also a session of unprecedented cowardice and opportunism.  It was a session that ended with the biggest newspaper in the state in a front page editorial telling a serving Tennessee Senator that the people of Tennessee were not assholes.  It was a session of shame.  Just shame.

And now the clock is ticking.  For me, for 280,000, perhaps for you, for someone you love, in a very real way for Tennessee.  Without a special session the wait is two years.  Honestly I don’t know I can do two years.  Many, many who were hopeful this time, wont make it.  It is not just that Insure Tennessee lost.  Lives were lost.  And a countdown too many wont make has started.

When you talk to your legislator tell him about urgency.  Tell him about clocks.  Tell him about ticking.  Tell him he can help, that you expect his help, that you deserve his help.  Tell him today.  Tell him tomorrow.  Keep telling him.

Pray for Tennessee.  We can do better.  We must do better.

The clock is ticking.  I pray it stops soon.


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