The Memphis Center for Independent Living Journal
DAY FIFTEEN: An Authentic American Demonstration.
Tennessee Governor disappears in darkness for the Independence Day Celebration.
If you want to show your children what it means to be an American, take them to witness the power to protest. You can park on Charlotte Avenue in front of the Capitol. Then watch those willing to light a candle against the darkness — in hopes of a new dawn of government and leaders listening to the people.
- Tennessean 7/3/05
|(NASHVILLE, July 4, 2005) Celebrating Independence Day activists remained in Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen’s office demanding an end to TennCare disenrollment and that the governor talk openly about the massive Medicaid changes. Protestors have been in Bredesen’s office day and night since June 20th and supporters have met nightly outside the locked public building to show encouragement.
“The numbers are beyond belief,” said Stan Davidson a TennCare enrollee preparing to sleep on the cold marble floor. “To take healthcare from over 300 thousand people is getting close to genocide. And the disenrollees are often those that are least able to fight for themselves, the sick and the poor.”
Over the long holiday weekend, many people have come to demonstrate their support for the activist’s demands. There is a nightly candlelight vigil outside the building where the activists can see from the governor’s office windows. The National Organization of Women, who held a conference in Nashville also showed support.
“Being here is both humbling and empowering,” said Davidson by telephone. “This building belongs to the people and I believe we are helping citizens to see that government is the people and they need to be brought back to the center.”
TennCare is the Tennessee Medicaid program that offers additional healthcare coverage beyond the federal minimal requirements. Governor Bredesen’s “plan” is to return to the federal minimum, terminating healthcare to over 300 thousand citizens costing an additional $100 million. Activists have demanded that Bredesen meet to discuss the planned changes, but the governor will only consider a closed-door meeting with TennCare enrollees.
“I am very positive, we are ready to sit down with the governor,” said Stan Davidson of Nashville. “We are planning more assistance, our group is growing, and everyday is more extraordinary. NOW was fabulous and the ADAPT folks gave us the big juice, a real shot in the arm.”
Last week, the day before going to federal court about his Medicaid plan, Bredesen dropped a savings proposal of an estimated $280 million dollars. The governor has stated that his plan scrapping TennCare and returning to federal Medicaid was necessary because of the huge cost, but Bredesen’s proposal will not realize significant savings.
“I want to be clear on one point,” said Bredesen last year, “I am committed to fixing TennCare, not dismantling it.”
- Tim Wheat
MCIL Journal Index 2005
Follow the TennCare Sit-in
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2005 Tim Wheat