Dear Governor Haslam:
This is my 108th letter to you.
You need to write a letter and send it to every newspaper in the state. I think you need to write to every person in the coverage gap and explain to them what you are doing, what they can expect and what they can count on you to do. It’s fair. We have waited a very long time. It is time. It is time for you to report to the people. It is time for a public commitment about what you are going to make work. Your resolutions are like everyone else’s– not much. What are you committed to doing?
I know this is the last letter you are going to write so I wrote my own:
To all those in the coverage gap:
My name is Larry Drain and like you I live in the coverage gap. We all have our own stories about what that means. I want to thank you for your courage. Tennessee is a better place to live because of what you add. For many of you this is a life threatening situation. For others it may become so. We are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and you are in my prayers each and every night. Do not give up. No matter how much sense it might seem to make never give up. You matter. Your life matters. Your voice matters.
I wish I could explain all this but I can’t. I don’t understand what philosophy, what set of political beliefs, what notion of responsibility says to over 160,000 of their neighbors you cost too much and your health, your life, everything important to you is disposable. I don’t understand the government that requires the sickness and death of its poorer citizens as part of what it means to govern. I don’t.
I don’t understand why I must go without healthcare because someone does not like or trust our president. I don’t understand why someone would not want the federal taxes payed by Tennesseans to go to Tennessee and then have the gall to tell me they are protecting me. I do not understand why some state officials refer to conversation about allowing over 160,000 of their fellow citizens access to health care as a waste of time. How can the lives of 160,000 people be a waste of time??
I hope you speak.. I really hope you speak. Do not ever accept the message you don’t matter or what happens to you doesn’t matter. Talk to the governor.. Talk to your legislators.. Talk to your neighbors..Your church… Your friends..TO EVERYONE. Tell them clearly, loudly, and over and over again: WE ARE PEOPLE AND THIS IS WRONG. The time for silence was over long ago. Speak.
I am told we may not win. I can’t explain that either. It is so hard that the people of Tennessee are okay with that. But we can fight. I know I will and I hope you will also. Let them know we will not go easily. Never let anyone believe this is the best they can do.
May you be blessed this day. May this be a good day and may you know that hope is real.
May tomorrow be the beginning of better days for all of us.
Governor. Until tomorrow.