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.