Dear Governor Haslam:
This is my second letter.
It starts off with perhaps a strange observation. Not expanding medicaid changes things not just for the people without TennCare but also for those with TennCare.
Several monthes ago I took early retirement from Social Security. My wife was on SSI because of issues related to seizures among other things. We had it figured that with the 2 incomes although we would be below poverty we could survive and be fine.
Social Security called us in after a couple of monthes and told us we made far too much money. They told Linda that her check for $720 would become $20. When I told them I would get a job they told me that if I earned more than $85 a month she would lose her SSI and thus her TennCare. Without insurance she would not live a month. The medical issues are that serious.
We went home and made a budget. We would have $40 a month to live on for January. In February it would get worse. In March still worse. We cant live like that. But it seemed we had no choice.
On December 26 after 33 years of marriage we separated. Linda went to live with her mom. The idea was with a new address she could get her check back. The eventual plan is for her to find a new place to move into and me move ws close as possible. We, in all liklihood, will never live together again.
Obviously social security rules play a big role in all this. But if you had chosen to expand Medicaid and make it income based and not disability based none of this happens. For us living apart has become the only way to keep her alive.
In future letters I will tell you more about her medical history. She is a success and a miracle, but one that must be redone each and every day.
You have the ability to allow our lives to be lives together. Please stop and consider. It starts with you speaking out for the people who have no one to speak for them.