The Memphis Center for Independent Living Journal
DAY 3: Bredesen refuses to meet publicly.
The governor uses the media to attempt to divide demonstrators.
Activist spent their third night in the Governor of Tennessee’s office Wednesday standing firm that Gov. Phil Bredesen address publicly and confront directly TennCare cuts and disenrollment.
“The governor has never described or discussed why options to save TennCare will not work,” said Randy Alexander, and ADAPT activist in the governor’s office. “He ran on a platform to fix TennCare. We feel betrayed by Gov. Bredesen and further deceived because he has dodged explaining his actions to the public.”
The governor also dodged his promised meeting with the demonstrators on Wednesday. Bredesen would only meet with a small group and only behind closed doors. The Governor’s office attempted to spin Bredesen’s broken promise as if the demonstrators had turned-down the meeting.
"We did not turn him down from having a meeting," said Jerry Spriggs, a TennCare enrollee. "We refused to be divided."
The protestors vowed again today of their resolve to stay in the Governor’s office.
“Real change would be for the governor to meet with us publicly and to explain why options to save TennCare won’t work,” said Alexander of Memphis. “The governor has used his office to attempt to mock and divide us; but the people demand Bredesen be accountable.”
The governor’s announcement yesterday that ventilator users would not be institutionalized was greeted with skepticism today. Although Bredesen stated to the group directly that Tennessee’s 100 to 200 vent users would not be incarcerated, the language of the governor’s proposal is not clear and may actually lead to expensive institutionalization.
“The governor is brutal to those who speak out,” said Alexander. “Tony Garr [Tennessee Healthcare Campaign] and Gordon Bonnyman [Tennessee Justice Center] have lost funding from the state, but Bredesen takes lobbyist’s money and listens to special interests who meet behind closed doors.”
Randy Alexander pointed out that Wednesday was the anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision in
Olmstead, which reinforced the civil rights of people with disabilities. The
1990 Americans with Disabilities Act protects people from forced institutionalization and asserts the principal that people with disabilities are an equal part of American life. Randy was aware of the irony that six years after the
Olmstead ruling and 15 years after signing the ADA, citizens must still fight for simple equality.
- Tim Wheat
MCIL Journal Index 2005
Follow the TennCare Sit-in
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2005 Tim Wheat