The 63rd letter: And the trouble you are in

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 63rd letter to you.

You are in trouble. I think you know that. You have to come up with an answer to over 160000 Tennesseans on Tenn Care. More and more it is becoming obvious that they will not go away and that the growing suffering in Tennessee goes past party lines. The recent appeals court decision if it goes to the Supreme Court and is upheld would put thousands of other Tennesseans out of insurance. You are the one who made the decision not to have a state exchange. Now today comes news of a major law suit being filed. Your administration has been caught with their pants down.

Perhaps it has changed just a little. At one time I think the main question was rather or not you could avoid making the Tea Party mad. If things keep going the way they are going and you do nothing to get on the top of the situation you will soon have to find out how much the Tea Party can protect you.

Governor when I first started writing you I think the whole question of health care reform was basically dead in Tennessee. It is now alive and very alive. You have to act. Thinking it over or trying and blaming the federal government for why it doesnt work out is more and more just an empty gesture. You are driving the boat and we are hitting the icebergs. It is on you. The particulars of the law suit make that very obvious. The ball has dropped so many times it thinks it belongs on the floor.

I will give you a piece of unsolicited advice. The one common element in all this choices is Darrin Gordon. His antagonistic response to the federal government letter probably triggered the law suit. With him at the helm no one is really going to believe that Tenn Care will ever work honestly and openly with anyone. You might consider other options, particularly if you want to work out of the current impasse.

Governor if it seems to you like things are getting worse they are. You are on a very dangerous road. Turn. A lot of folks are wondering what it would be like if they were as important as all the Darrin Gordons and Tea Party folks and all the other people who now have your ear. People want to be for you. But you must first be for them.

Act now.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

Tennessean: ‘Dysfunction’ rules TennCare, lawsuit says

From Tennessean

‘Dysfunction’ rules TennCare, lawsuit says

Babies who went without medical coverage, a mother of three with high blood pressure and a woman with kidney failure are among the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed today contending that TennCare illegally denied them Medicaid benefits. Three nonprofit legal firms — the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Tennessee Justice Center and the National Health Law Program — are representing the plaintiffs. TennCare has also come under fire from the federal director of Medicaid programs, who this month sent a letter putting the agency on notice that it had failed to abide by its legal obligations. The suit comes after TennCare Director Darin Gordon sent a defiant response to that letter, blaming many of the state’s problems on the federal website healthcare.gov.

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/health/2014/07/23/dysfunction-rules-tenncare-suit-says/13043543/

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The 62nd letter: Make an effort to see

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 62nd letter to you.

I think your biggest failure as a governor is your unwillingness to listen to people who might put you at political risk.  The people in the coverage gap offer little advantage to you and lots of risk.  Juggling “concern” for people with no insurance with the very real threat of the Tea Party attacking you for trying to help them has to be exhausting.  But I have to tell the “I’m trying” stuff is ringing more and more hollow.  Pointing fingers at the federal government when you have never even turned in a medicaid waiver and when they have reached agreement with so many other states who also have conservative governors makes you look worse and worse.  It astounds me that no one in Tennessee even knows what the Tennessee plan is.  NSA is not this secretive.

You have to choose.  You must either choose to fight the Tea Party or choose to abandon over 160000 Tennesseans to their fate.  Talk about “right to life”.  Talk about “capital punishment.”  Either take a chance and fight the anger of the tea party or know that you will go down as the governor who made a conscious planned decision to desert his own people to protect his own political ambitions.  I dont mean to be insulting but I think the choices are that simple.

I met a very sick lady in Knoxville in the last couple of days.  She told me that she liked you being her mayor and she wished you were also her governor.  She is waiting.  Me too.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

A second 61st letter: I will write every single member of the legislature

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my second 61st letter to you.

You are either going to have to fight the legislature or let people die.  There are no other options.  None.

I think if you stepped out you would be astonished at the public support you would get.  But you have to step.

Be a governor of courage and not of tactics.

I know I would come out swinging for you.  I would write every member of the legislature every day if need be.

We can do this with you but we must have you.

Please speak.

Until tomorrow,

Larry Drain

The 61st letter: the experiment is done and the data is in

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is the 61st letter to you.

Governor the experiment has been done and the data is in.  Check out the results in states, particularly states similiar to Tennessee that have expanded medicaid.  More jobs, saving hospitals, healthier people, better communities to live in.  The data is everywhere.

The question is not if but when.  You hold the answer.  Please speak.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

The 60th letter : two months

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is the 60th letter to you.

If the studies are correct 50 people have died in Tennessee for lack of insurance since I started writing you. Around 25 will die in the next 30 days. Still another 25 will be dead by my birthday in September. It could be more, perhaps a lot more since I am figuring on the low end of what the study says.

I really wish you were like a militiary commander and had to write the families of those on your watch.

Hopefully the next two monhs will bring better news.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

The 59th letter: Did you even see us

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Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 59th letter to you.

We were there in Knoxville when you were.  Did you even see us??  You walked right by but acted like you didnt.  I know about the talking part of your job but did you know about the listening part?  I cant tell.

I dont want to control your decision but I do want to be heard.  It just doesnt seem that big a deal. 

Start the conversation about Tenn Care.  Despite what Sen Ramsey says it isnt over.  It never happened.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

The 58th letter: What other people say

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 58th letter to you.

I don’t know if it bothers you or not what other people say about Tennessee.  It does me.  I used to cringe every time I would hear a late night comedian telling Stacy Campfield jokes.

Tennessee is getting murdered right now in public opinion.  I think that your office has gotten a lot of emails from outside the state even since mine and Linda’s story became public.  Some of it I have seen.  None of it is good.

The credibility of a state would seem important to me.  It would really be important if I was governor. Nothing good comes from others thinking Tennessee is a brutal place, run by politicians whose sole purpose in life is to get elected who make a career of catering to people’s fears, and who ignore the needs and lives of the most vulnerable citizens of their state. Governor it is a growing consensus.

Show it isn’t so. Expand Tenn Care.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

Ps. The petition is over 8000 signatures.

The 57th letter: “Have to die.”

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 57th letter to you.

I overheard a conversation in the grocery store yesterday.

“People are going to die waiting for Haslam to do his Tennessee plan….

(Second person defending you) They may have to.  Its going to take a little while for Governor Haslam to work this out…..”

Do they “have to?”  Does anyone “have to?”  How many?  How many are too many?

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain