Defining the conversation

Something changed this past week.  Governor Haslam responded to something that was said.  His response was superficial and evasive, but he did respond.  His normal response to criticism of his refusal to expand Tenn Care is to ignore it and wait for it to go away.  This past Monday we came to the capital.  We had the signatures of 47000 people asking that Tenn Care be expanded.  We had the testimony of one mother whose daughter died from lack of insurance.  Hard to ignore.

It is time for us to seize the momentum and do what we have to do to define the conversation on Tenn Care expansion.  It is not only something we can afford to do, but something we cant afford to not do.  On every level, in every way it is a good decision.

But we have to speak.  We need gap voices.  We need every voice willing to speak up for the kind of place they want Tennessee to be.  There is someone you can talk to, someone you can encourage to talk.  Be part of saving lives.

Monika Farden died basically from complications from a broken toe.  In America.  In Tennessee.

If you havent spoken yet there will never be a better time.  If you have reach out to someone else and support their voice.  If you speak up and ask three others to speak up and each of them ask three others to speak and so on and so on and so on in a matter of a few days or weeks we could have a completely different conversation about Tenn Care expansion.

Be part of the conversation.  It is about who we are and the kind of state we want to become.  Speak now.

The second 128th letter: The cost of the way we live

Dear Governor Haslam: 

This is my second 128th letter to you.

My wife spoke at the rally on the tenth.  One line really stood out.

“It is not just a matter of the cost of living, but of the cost of the way we live…”

She is right.  While I hear you talking so much about what you believe is the cost of expanding Medicaid I wonder if you have ever considered the cost of not expanding Medicaid….not just in the financial sense but to the kind of people we are, the  kind of society we are and the kind of state Tennessee has become.  The choices we as a state make affect the kind of state we can become.  Listen to those no one else listens to.  Expand Tenn Care.  Speak now.

Tennessee for Tennesseans.  It is long past time.

Until next time,

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

The 128th letter: No you dont

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 128th letter to you.

We came to see you on November 10th and I guess you werent home. People shared there stories and we delivered a petition to you. The petition had signatures of over 47,000 people, including people from virtually every town and city in Tennessee. Many of the people who signed also left comments which I hope you read. Most of them are directed towards you.

Michelle Fardan also talked. She told about how her daughter died from lack of insurance. She basically died from complications from a broken toe. A broken toe. How does someone in America, someone in Tennessee die from a broken toe? What have we come to? I would like to hear you explain to her how your decision not to expand Tenn Care was a good one, a responsible one, and an example of you doing what was best for the people of Tennessee.

Instead you got on TV and said you “understood where these people are coming from….” and you had to do what was best for Tennessee. You have no idea where these people are coming from. To even say you do indicates how little you do. Monika Farden died from politics as usual in Tennessee. It is time for you to listen to the people of Tennessee and it shouldnt be listening to the mothers after their children have died.

You dont know and until you listen you never will.

Expand Tenn Care. No more Monika Fardens. Expand Tenn Care now.

Until tomorrow,

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

Mother pleads for Medicaid expansion on behalf of dead daughter
【from Next Browser】

The 127th letter: GOVERNOR

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 127th letter to you.

You are governor again.  Congratulations to you.  I know you are glad you won.  My hope is we won too.

Second chances are rare and you have a great one.  You can define Tennessee as being for all Tennesseans. You can put an end to the idea that anyone is disposable. You can put an end to the idea that political ideology is more important than public service. You can define policy by long term solutions to problems rather than long term problems caused by misguided short term solutions. You can give all Tennesseans a chance to lead a healthy life. You can make sure socio-economic status is no longer a terminal illness for anyone. You can be a governor that saves lives instead of allowing some to die. You can be the legacy by which future governors are measured or you can be the curse they try to deliver us from.

Expand Tenn Care. It is that simple. Speak for those no one speaks for. The opportunity is there.

Until next time.

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

No one should ever have to beg: The second 93rd letter

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my second 93rd letter to you.

I spent a good part of the afternoon looking at videos on You Tube.  I discovered that Tennessee has a section there.  Kind of a hall of shame.  There is a wide variety of videos that share a common theme and a common story.

A poor person without insurance is sick.  They have tried everything to get help.  Looked everywhere.  And there is no help.  Finally they get on You Tube and on the videos beg the state government of the state they live in not to kill them because they are poor.  Sometimes people speak for themselves.  Parents sometimes speak for their children.  The message everywhere is the same.  Please….Please….Please…..

People die because they cost too much.

We now have a choice.  We have the ability to say no one costs too much.  Without your action more will go on the wall of shame.  There will be more pleases.  People will beg for their lives.  You can beat them to the punch.  Act now.  Open the conversation.

One video especially caught my attention.  Ty Green.  Does he ring a bell with you.  Probably not.  You are very busy.  You ought to take a look at his mother begging for the life of her son.  He’s dead now… No one listened soon enough to make a difference.  He will not be the last Ty Green.


Until tomorrow.

Yours truly

A poem….the 71st letter again

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 71st letter to you.

When does one man matter to another
When do ears hear the cries
And eyes see the tears
And hearts know that mercy and compassion
Are real choices
More than dollars and cents
More than “realism” not real
When is sickness and death
Not the sentence of the poor
When is care what we do for other people
And not doled out in portions
To make sure it is not stolen
When is the health of our neighbors
A measure of the health of our hearts
And not a threat to the health of our wallets
When will law become the instrument of justice
And not the chains that protect the poor from opportunity
How can we protect the health of our community
When health is not available to all
When will freedom not be a weapon against the poor
But the path to a kinder and better life for all


Until tomorrow

Yours truly,

Larry Drain

On November 10 we are having a rally at the legislative plaza in Nashville.  Please come and share the invitation.

November 10

Please share the following press release with everyone you know particularly any media outlets.

For Immediate Release
November 4, 2014
Contact: Larry Drain

Rally to “Listen to the People”

Nashville, TN—It’s time to Listen to the People. More than 46,000 concerned supporters have signed Larry and Linda Drain’s petition asking Governor Haslam to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid in our state so that all Tennesseans have access to health care.   Right now, those who can afford insurance and those who qualify for existing TennCare have decent coverage.  But without Medicaid expansion, hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans remain uncovered, in the health care coverage Gap.

On November 10th at 11:00am on Legislative Plaza, Larry and Linda will lead a rally to ask our political leaders to listen to the people.  The Drains and their supporters will deliver over 46,000 signatures to Governor Bill Haslam requesting that he close the health care coverage Gap.

Larry and Linda have gained national attention by sharing their health struggles, their decision to separate in order to get care for Linda, and their frustrations with the healthcare coverage Gap.  The Drains had to give up their marriage to secure access to health care, and even so, only Linda has it.  That’s an outcome that legislators surely did not intend.  

Larry has written a letter to Governor Bill Haslam every day since May, hoping that the Governor will understand the impact that health care coverage gap has on the lives of so many Tennesseans. You can read Larry’s letters on his website at

Governor Haslam has yet to respond. 

It is time for our state leaders to listen to the people and hear our plea for Medicaid expansion in Tennessee. 

Join us November 10th to hear from Larry and Linda Drain and additional speakers whose lives are directly impacted by this decision.


The meaning of words: The 78th letter again

It is amazing what words can be made to mean.  It is time for our words to be heard and heard clearly.

You are invited to a rally at Legislative Plaza on November 10 in Nashville for Tenn Care expansion.  Please spread the word.  Hope to see you at 11 am.  It is time for our leaders to “speak with the people.”

Dear Governor Haslam:

This is my 78th letter to you.

Do you ever get confused by the ways we use words?  I do.

Freedom-  the protection of people’s inability to access life needed medical care.  “The federal government is about taking away our choices to have health care.”  (People with health care are the only ones who ever say that.)

Financial responsibility-  states passing the bills for uninsured people to local communities and hospitals.  “The state has the responsibility to responsibly manage its resources.”  (When a politician tells you he is saving money watch his hands carefully lest you find he has handed you the bill)

Protecting taxpayers-  Making sure that Tennessee taxpayers dont have to worry about their federal tax dollars being spent in Tennessee benefitting Tennesseans.

Justice-  making sure that poor people dont get anything they havent earned.  If they dont pay for the medical care that saves their lives how will they ever appreciate it? (Am I the only one who thinks rich people getting things they havent earned is a far bigger problem than any health care that might go to an “undeserving” poor person.)

Courage-  What legislators do who stand up to Obama and say “You cant push us around.  You cant make us give health care to the poor.”  (I am still waiting for the first one to give up their insurance to show their solidarity with all the poor people being oppressed by Obamacare.)

Honesty-  now defined as anything the tea party agrees with.

These are only a few of the things that confuse me….Oh one more.

Plan-  an invisible, unseen, unknown thing that keeps people from making decisions they dont want to make.

Until tomorrow.

Yours truly

Larry Drain