DAY TWENTY-NINE: "Shame on Bredesen."
Pressure grows as governor ignores his home state.
(NASHVILLE, July 18, 2005) Activists held out a fourth weekend, this one with limited food and water, to start a fifth week of a demonstration against Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. TennCare enrollees and advocates facing an end of healthcare coverage began an occupation of Bredesen’s office June 20th demanding the governor stop disenrollment and meet openly with protestors.
“Shame on Bredesen for putting us off for four weeks,” said Don Duval this morning from inside the state building.
Governor Bredesen broke his promise to fix TennCare and has ignored cost savings solutions to press his own untested, expensive and inadequate healthcare plan. On pervious weekends the governor or his lawyer would stop in to speak informally to protestors. This weekend, however, Bredesen is reportedly at the National Governors Association conference in Des Moines,
Iowa. Advocates report this being an uneventful weekend with many calls of support from across the nation.
The National Governors Association released a report last month that found states could save with more emphasis on home and community based services. Tennessee is the worst US state at providing alternatives to expensive nursing home services and Bredesen has failed to explore community alternatives to save the state money and has axed cost-saving services in his plan. Bredesen said he must scrap TennCare to cut costs to the state; however his proposal will cost the state 14,500 jobs and $1.6 billion in lost business.
Improving Access to Home and Community-Based Care. The long-term care policies advocated by NGA should also include reforms to the Medicaid program that produce better health outcomes for beneficiaries and result in greater efficiencies for both the federal government and states [MEDICAID REFORM A PRELIMINARY REPORT from the NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION June 15, 2005].
Link: Bredesen’s Plan Costly to Tennessee.
Link: Protest Expands with Bredesen’s Dishonesty.
In the past, activists have been cut off from events outside the state building during the weekends. This weekend, those locked inside have received much support from across the nation on the donated cell phone. Michael Heinrich reported yesterday getting calls from Florida, Washington DC, and New Jersey.
Stan Davidson developed a way to communicate with supporters outside the building through the glass. Each night there is a candlelight vigil organized, but supporters could only see each other through the thick glass.
“It has been difficult to speak with people outside through the windows,” said Michael Heinrich from the governor’s office, “But Stan came up with a kind of mini megaphone by poking the bottom out of a paper coffee cut that has aided verbal communication.”
Don DuVaul said that activists have a full week ahead.
- Tim Wheat