Another another letter

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is another another letter.

The majority leader of the Senate says he knows you are not serious about Tenn Care because you have not talked with him yet. Sounds like he thinks you need his permission.

Somebody did not get the memo. Hope it was him.

Until the 100th letter.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

Just another letter

Dear Governor Haslam:

This one doesnt have a number or a name. It is just another letter.

The 100th letter should be done in a couple more days. It has become more involved than I anticipated. I had planned in the letter to list all the names of the people I can find that have contacted you in some way to ask you to extend Tenn Care. Right now I have close to 1200 names. I had originally planned to put all these names in that letter but decided that was overkill. I will probably share them about 200 a time over several letters. I am afraid that too many names at a time make it easy not to read any and all these names deserve to be read.

But none of that is the purpose of this letter. I have struggled with your announcement of your intention to submit a plan to expand Tenn Care to the General Assembly. My first reaction was exhilaration and that is still part of the way I feel but

You made a substantial contribution to the mess we are in. You backed away from a fight you could have won because it was a difficult fight to make in the spring. You have ignored the cries of thousands of people for help. You dont talk to ordinary people you think will confront you. Tenn Care according to CMS is struggling with just being legal. It is a hypocritical joke that you complain about the healthcare.gov website when Tennessee cant even get a website up. Saying you are going to do better is not the same as doing better. And it doesnt change anything at all about the misery you have caused.

When you do something and you do something that matters my plan is to support you in that effort. My biggest disappointment in you was the tea party said jump and you said how high. If you had made the earlier fight and lost the fight to come would have been easier.

Governor nothing you have said changes one thing for me. My visit to the ER this weekend left me without bad news. My anxiety there was really not about what might be wrong but what I would do if something was wrong. I still dont know. What about all the people without insurance who go to the ER and do get bad news?? What about them?

The fight ahead is months long. I hope you are up to it. It is not really a political battle although it will be fought as one. It is a moral battle being fought for the lives of people who have no where else to turn and a spiritual battle for the soul of this state. Never forget that.

Until the 100th letter.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

The 98th letter: If anyone had told me I would still be writing…

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 98th letter to you.

When this started if anyone had told me I would still be writing and that I never would have even seen a note from you let alone talk to you I would have told them they were crazy. 

People want change. Virtually every major newspaper in this state has come out in favor of Tenn Care expansion. Countless professional organizations have also.

Submit your plan. If you want us to believe your voice we must know that you have heard ours.

Talk with us.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

The 99th letter: Tomorrow will be the 100th letter

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 99th letter to you.  

Tomorrow will be my 100th letter to you.  It may be a day or two late.  I am trying to gather some names of others that I know have written you and include them in what I have to say.  Everyone is talking……Except you.

I also plan to send the 100th letter to all members of the state legislature.  That is a practice I will regularly follow with the next 100 letters.

I hope soon to hear from you.  Start the conversation on Tenn Care expansion.  Please.

Until tomorrow.  Or the day after

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

A third 97th letter: In the E.R. The health system for the uninsured

Governor Haslam:

This is my 3rd 97th letter to you.

The ER is the medical system for poor people with no insurance.  I know.  I am there.

I came about 4 or 5 hours ago.  I was having severe pains in my chest and thought I was, despite feeling like my heart was in great shape, scared to death I was having a heart attack.  I wasnt but medical catastrophes take on new meaning when you are afraid you need something to stay alive that you have no insurance and  no way to access.  It is complete terror.   I was lucky.  But the terror was real, very real.

I am still here and they are still doing tests.  I think they think something is wrong with my gall bladder, but I dont know and neither do they yet.  If they say I need surgery of some kind (and God I hope they dont)what would you have me do governor??  I hope for a false alarm.  I really hope for a false alarm, but what if it is not?  The heart attack horror is gone, but what horror is next.

Governor I am not the only person who cant wait.  Some old stuff at same old speed wont cut it.  Obviously you cant do anything about today.  It is whatever it is, but you can do so much about so many tomorrows for so many people.

Governor act now.  What is the plan?

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

A Second 97th letter: the news on medicaid expansion

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my second 97th letter to you and one of the most important ones in light of last nights news.

The Governor of Pennsylvania announced that he is expanding medicaid to over 500,000 people. Last night you announced your commitment to submitting a plan for Tenn Care expansion to the federal government this fall. To put it mildly I was pleased but:

More than ever it is important that you act quickly. Millions of dollars are being lost each day and thousands of people face health issues and risks they should not have to face. Do not tell people the boat is coming and then let them die waiting. Your commitment to act is also a commitment to act quickly. I hope you recognize that.

I hope your commitment to submit a plan means you already have a plan and not that you have decided to devise one. I hope you will make public where that stands. You have already had a long time to “plan”. You have to basically know what will fly with the federal government and what wont fly. YOUR STATEMENT LAST NIGHT DOES NOT GIVE YOU MORE TIME. IT GIVES YOU LESS.

It is time….WHAT IS THE TENNESSEE PLAN? Many people more than ever are wondering if this is simply a political maneuver to deflect attention and pressure. Some people believe it is your response to the lawsuit Tennessee faces. You need to follow up and reach out. This is not the time to retreat behind a wall of secrecy.

You have the fight of your political life ahead if you really do this. You know that. Call on the people to support you. Give them a plan that matters and a governor worth following and I think they will. I hope you have the grit for what is ahead.

In the previous post I talked about wondering when you would decide you were my governor too. I hope this means you have made that decision.

On a personal note: For the first time in a long time I am hopeful that my wife and I may be able to live together again. This has been a forever nightmare for us and part of keeping sane has been learning to live like it is forever. Please dont let us down. Please dont let us down.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

Half A Million More Americans To Get Health Care As GOP Gov Caves – http://huff.to/1tPeNMk

The 97th letter: Be my governor

Dear Governor Haslam: 

This is my 97th letter to you.

I talked with someone the other day who couldnt go see a doctor although they needed to very badly.  We  talked about you.

She asked:  “I voted for him….but I guess my vote didnt count…  Do you think he will ever be my governor….”

My reply was simple,   “I hope someday he will be mine….”

Until tomorrow,

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

Dear Governor Haslam: from Walter Davis

Dear Governor Haslam:

In your State of the State Address you said: “I believe that more Tennesseans having health care is good for our state.  <<”Amen! From the crowd”>>

For Tennessee to be America at its best, we must get health care right << “Amen! From the crowd”>>

— for those who need health care coverage and for the long-term fiscal health of our state.”

Many Tennesseans get good health care and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has helped make that true for over 150,000 newly insured.

Some Tennesseans get the best health care money can buy.

But too many Tennesseans get emergency room health care or none at all.

Governor you say, Tennessee is America at its best. You say you have a plan but it remains undefined and invisible.

This beautiful land could be America at its best. You have a rare opportunity to make that happen, assure that all Tennesseans can find health care they need. The money is there. By the end of this year, you will have thrown away $1 billion in federal funds that could have provided health insurance for thousands, saved community hospitals and kept jobs here in the state. Some say that number is far too low an estimate.

Richard Nixon said, “Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his or her talents and opportunities. It is thus just as important that economic, racial and social barriers not stand in the way of good health care as it is to eliminate those barriers to a good education and a good job.” He said that 40 years ago. [February 6, 1974]

It has taken one hundred years to reach the point where we can build a health care system where all could have access. Tennessee should not  turn in an oppositve direction, abandoning tens of thousands to desperation and bankruptcy.

Gov. Haslam you say, “We are a model to the nation.” We could be. But right now, we are a model of how not to do it.  The path we are on now is one that builds a separate but unequal system of health care – where money alone determines whether you get care. That’s not a good model.  It serves none of us to have a neighbor dying for lack of medication or a necessary procedure.  Please Governor, have the courage to meet with the people thrown into a gap, locked out, by your decision.

Your fiscal calculations are cold dead facts rather than living analysis. What is the cost to a community to lose it local hospital? Of course, jobs. Of course, timely access in emergencies but there is more – the sense of value a community holds dear for its people, a sense of control over one’s destiny and the ability to plan and build a healthier place for people.

That’s a social cost. Beyond your budget, communities are losing much more – lose a hospital, close an emergency room, lose professionals with keystone salaries, weaken the tax base, see young people leave, and fail working people who have built this state.

Governor, do the right thing. Do the moral thing. Take the federal funds, repair TennCare, put TennCare workers back in DHS offices and hospitals, widen the enrollment in TennCare, control costs in a responsible way not a slash and burn way, keep our hospitals open.

Remember your own words:

“I believe that more Tennesseans having health care is good for our state.”

Yours impatiently,

Walter Davis

Dear Governor Haslam:

In your State of the State Address you said: “I believe that more Tennesseans having health care is good for our state.  <<”Amen! From the crowd”>>

For Tennessee to be America at its best, we must get health care right << “Amen! From the crowd”>>

— for those who need health care coverage and for the long-term fiscal health of our state.”

Many Tennesseans get good health care and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has helped make that true for over 150,000 newly insured.

Some Tennesseans get the best health care money can buy.

But too many Tennesseans get emergency room health care or none at all.

Governor you say, Tennessee is America at its best. You say you have a plan but it remains undefined and invisible.

This beautiful land could be America at its best. You have a rare opportunity to make that happen, assure that all Tennesseans can find health care they need. The money is there. By the end of this year, you will have thrown away $1 billion in federal funds that could have provided health insurance for thousands, saved community hospitals and kept jobs here in the state. Some say that number is far too low an estimate.

Richard Nixon said, “Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his or her talents and opportunities. It is thus just as important that economic, racial and social barriers not stand in the way of good health care as it is to eliminate those barriers to a good education and a good job.” He said that 40 years ago. [February 6, 1974]

It has taken one hundred years to reach the point where we can build a health care system where all could have access. Tennessee should not  turn in an oppositve direction, abandoning tens of thousands to desperation and bankruptcy.

Gov. Haslam you say, “We are a model to the nation.” We could be. But right now, we are a model of how not to do it.  The path we are on now is one that builds a separate but unequal system of health care – where money alone determines whether you get care. That’s not a good model.  It serves none of us to have a neighbor dying for lack of medication or a necessary procedure.  Please Governor, have the courage to meet with the people thrown into a gap, locked out, by your decision.

Your fiscal calculations are cold dead facts rather than living analysis. What is the cost to a community to lose it local hospital? Of course, jobs. Of course, timely access in emergencies but there is more – the sense of value a community holds dear for its people, a sense of control over one’s destiny and the ability to plan and build a healthier place for people.

That’s a social cost. Beyond your budget, communities are losing much more – lose a hospital, close an emergency room, lose professionals with keystone salaries, weaken the tax base, see young people leave, and fail working people who have built this state.

Governor, do the right thing. Do the moral thing. Take the federal funds, repair TennCare, put TennCare workers back in DHS offices and hospitals, widen the enrollment in TennCare, control costs in a responsible way not a slash and burn way, keep our hospitals open.

Remember your own words:

“I believe that more Tennesseans having health care is good for our state.”

Yours impatiently,

Walter Davis

Dear Governor Haslam: MWA ( moral week of action)

Dear Governor Haslam:

Today marks the end of a week of moral action sponsored by the NAACP in Tennessee.  One of the subjects today is health care.  Health care is a moral action and the lack of  it for all Tennesseans a major assault on the moral fabric of our state.

Over 161,000 Tennesseans await action from you.  They are  largely the working poor who have tried to do the right thing their entire life and know find in a country in the midst of health care reform there is no health care reform for them.

There is a big gap in Tennessee between those who believe their voice counts and those who believe they have no voice. If you are poor the overwhelming message right now is that your voice is not important. There are people whose life is in danger right from lack of medical care now who believe it is pointless to speak and if they do it should always be with apology. As Governor that should alarm and scare you. The overwhelming message they get is that they are disposable and their lives an inconvenience.

People who are poor, who have no insurance, who are sick or have family sick no longer believe anyone listens and that even their screams and cries are as a whisper. Many believe it is pointless to ask because no one is listening. Governor they are talking about you.

Consider some numbers:

161000 Tennesseans without insurance

30- The amount of dollars Tennessee gains for every dollar it spends on Tenn Care expansion

2.7 million- the amount of money Tennessee is losing every day in federal aid.

260- the minimum amount of people who die in Tennessee each year from lack of insurance.

22,000- the amount of new jobs Tenn Care expansion would create for Tennessee.

2.3 billion dollars- the amount of decrease in uncompensated care for Tennessee hospitals.

1.5 billion- the total amount of federal aid lost in 2014

760- the upper limit of the amount of people in Tennessee who will die from lack of insurance.

17,000- the amount of uninsured veterans who would be able to get insurance if Tenn Care expanded.

0- the amount of times Bill Haslam has stood up to the Tea Party about Tenn Care expansion.

0- the amount of people in Tennessee who have seen the Tennessee plan.

On a personal note there are two more numbers: 33 and 8.

33 is the amount of years my wife and I have been married. 8 months ago we separated to protect her access to Tenn Care. I know by now you now the story. If Tenn Care is expanded we can live together without my wife dying.

One more. 7. 7 is the amount of years I have been free of insurance. I pray each day it is a freedom I will soon lose. Like many people I have needs. I need a surgery that can never happen unless Tenn Care is expanded. So many people need you to act.

Governor be the governor of all Tennesseans. Open the conversation on Tenn Care expansion now!!!

Until tomorrow

Yours truly,

Larry Drain