- Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee
Asked directly by Randy Alexander what
the Governor's plans were in relation to cuts in services to individuals who use ventilators
at home and in the community, Governor Bredesen replied, “I’m not going to cut their services I’m just going to put then in the nursing home.”
Before and after a media event Governor Bredesen, of Tennessee, was confronted about several issues surrounding the states TennCare cuts. Under a special category of TennCare there are around one hundred individuals who use ventilators that receive support services in there own homes.
Governor Bredesen’s plan to cut TennCare includes cutting the TennCare coverage that allows individuals that are vent dependent to live independent lives. Some live in their own homes, some with family or friends but they are all free Americans.
“So you are saying," asked Randy Alexander of Tennessee ADAPT,
"you will institutionalize people because they have a
“Yes,” replied Bredesen, “I care about them, I’m not cutting their services I’m going to provide their services in a nursing
The 1999 Olmstead decision interpreted Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its implementing regulation, requiring States to administer their services, programs, and activities "in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities."
It appears impossible to interpret Governor Bredesen's statements
in a way that is not a direct invitation to an Olmstead lawsuit. The
state of California recently lost an Olmstead case when they attempted
to replace a nursing home rather than offer home and community
alternatives. The Tennessee Governor's plan seems to actually take
people out of the community and force them into the most expensive and
least desirable setting.
“Are you going to sentence them to prison for the crime of having a disability?"
asked Alexander. "A nursing home is an institution, an institution is imprisonment and you are saying today, right now, you are willing to sentence them to prison for the crime of having a
“…the state cannot afford to pay for the services of these one hundred
people,” the Governor said as he began to step away.
“We are talking about basic human rights here," said Alexander before the Governor
could leave, "you have admitted today this state, is willing to imprison people simply because they have a
Contact the Governor Today:
Tennessee State Capitol
Nashville, TN 37243-0001