The 14th letter: How many will die? How many have to die??

Dear Governor Haslam,

This is my 14th letter to you.

It asks only two questions: without TennCare expansion how many will die? And most importantly how many have to die?

The link below is to a study from Harvard that addresses the first of those questions.

Governor in the next year somewhere between 261 and 981 Tennesseans will die from lack of medical coverage. 261-981 people who will find that the government of the state of Tennessee is more dangerous than cancer, heart disease, diabetes, car wrecks or bullets.

The most important queston is the second one. How many have to die???


Governor its on you. Please expand TennCare. There are at least 981 reasons too. Please.

You have the voice. You have the choice. Please.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

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A second 13th letter: 32,000 people

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my second 13th letter.

32,000 people.  That is the number of seriously mentally ill people that without Tenn Care expansion will not have any access to services.

If they do not have help with their lives the consequences of their living will impact all of us.  They already do.  They fill our jails, our streets, our communities.

A total of 80,000 people with some degree of mental health issues will remain uninsured barring expansion.  It is the right thing to do financially, socially, and morally.  It is the right thing for Tennessee.

Please speak out.  Expand Tenn Care.

Until tomorrow,

Larry Drain

The 13th letter: mental health

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 13th letter to you.

I have always been impressed by the way you seem to care about the mental health system in Tennessee.  But…..

The single most important piece of mental health reform is increasing people’s access to services.  Without health care reform there is no mental health reform and without TennCare expansion there is no access for many people.  It has a tremendous cost to this state in terms of the consequences of people with mental health issues not receiving the help they need.  Jails, prisons, homelessness, suicide, loss of jobs, family stresses and failures:  all of these and more are connected to no access.

Make a real difference in our mental health system.  Support TennCare expansion.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

Will you speak???

The opposition to Medicaid expansion is loud, organized, powerful, aggresssive and persistent.  Many people believe that the fight is over with in Tennessee. They point to the opposition in the legislature and wonder how they can make a difference. Expansion seems like such a no brainer in so many ways. I cant remember when the state of Tennessee had a chance to do something with the ability to help so many people so much. Yet it seems so far away.

It will take people who believe in it speaking up, speaking a lot, and speaking a lot more. Silence will only confirm what is. If what you say matters, saying nothing matters even more. Will you speak up??

There is no assurance it will make a difference. There is no promise you will be heard. The only promise is what will happen if you dont.

We need each other. Badly. Speak out. Write. Call. Email. Do something and then support someone else in doing the same. Vote each and every day the matters of your heart.

If are voice is to matter then what we do must matter.

Speak today for Medicaid expansion. Speak tomorrow and the day afterward. And continue speaking until you are heard and make a difference. If you dont speak for the people in need now who will speak for you in need.

Tomorrow will be my 13th letter to Governor Haslam. The day after that will be the 14th. Please join me. Contact Governor Haslam today.

The 12th letter: disability

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 12th letter to you and the news is not good.

I talked with Carol Westlake of The Tennessee Coalition about the effect of Tenn Care expansion on people with disabilities.  It is scary:

The percentage of people with disabilities is almost double for poor people what it is for people with higher incomes.

Although many people with disabilities get SSI and thus Tenn Care a very high amount dont.

There are 80742 Tennesseans with disabilities with no healthcare coverage.  They are the people Tenn Care expansion could save.  Can you even begin to imagine what disability without help must be like.  Even applying for SSI can take over 2 years.  This is not my picture of what Tennessee can be or should be.  I dont think it is yours either Governor.  Has anyone in your administration even looked at what the lack of expansion for people with disabilities??

There is another problem. If you were disabled, say in a car wreck or by illness, tomorrow and found you had lost all income you would probably apply for SSDI.  Federal law says that for someone under 65 they must have ssdi for 2 years before they can access medicare.  For many they have 2 years of no access to medical care when they need it more than they have ever needed in their lives.  About 4-5% of these folks die before they get to medicaire.  Expanding Tenn Care saves lives.  It saves lives.

Governor Haslam none of this is okay.  Tenn Care expansion for them is the difference in having a fair chance at any quality of life. Please act.

In the immediate sense I would like to know more about who in your administration is reaching out to the disabled community.  If no one is they need to start– yesterday.

Governor thanks for your time.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain


A note to readers.  Tomorrows letter will be on disability and Tenn Care expansion.  You do not want to miss it.  If you do not know how Tenn Care expansion affects people with disability you will be astounded.  Please pass the word on to your mailing lists.  It is that important.

The 11th letter: Expansion is working

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 11th letter to you.

It works. Expansion works. The evidence below talks about the hospitals all over the country it is making a difference in. Please read it and think about it.

It is good for the people. It is good for business. It is good for the state. It would be good for Tennessee.

Please act.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain