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The Memphis Center for Independent Living Journal


DAY FIFTY-FIVE: TennCare Capitol Sit-In Over 50 Days and Going Strong.

An Overview by Randy Alexander

Randy Alexander(NASHVILLE, August 13, 2005) At the printing of this newsletter the Save TennCare Capitol “Sit-In” has lasted over 50 days. These individuals have been in the capitol in an attempt not only to save TennCare but to force Bredesen to be responsive to the citizens of this state. The group has had two demands:

  1. Halt all termination letters immediately, and end the process for cutting enrollment and the reduction of benefit limits.
  2. Provide a written agreement to resume talks, to review reforms and revenue generation that could allow TennCare to be maintained for those who are proposed to be cut and receive benefit limits. 
  1. That these talks happen in manner fully accessible to the public. 
  2. That they engage enrollees and medical professionals chosen from and with in this participating group. 

Instead of working toward reform Governor Bredesen has continued down the path to eliminate coverage to 323,000 individuals and severally limit services to another 400,000. These are the largest cuts to health care any state has ever made. Instead of openly discussing ways to save TennCare Governor Bredesen has blamed others for these cuts. 

We have no secrete agenda, but the Bredesen administration is all behind closed-doors. - Don DeVaul. There have been dozens and dozens of options that would cut costs, generate revenue and control expenses presented to this administration in an attempt to save TennCare. Yet Governor Bredesen has said they won’t work. But why won’t they? The group has requested that the Governor respond, in detail, why those options would not save TennCare. 

As of the going to press of this newsletter Governor Bredesen has NOT answered to these options. He has NOT explained, in detail, why these options will not work. He has not responded to the CITIZENS OF THIS STATE!

So MCIL and ADAPT of Tennessee have joined with others to fight such unjust cuts. To give voice to those that have taken part in this action the following are just a few quotes from some of those that have been part of the sit-in at the capitol.

Randy speaks with Phil“The guy [Bredesen] doesn’t care about anything but his own image,” said Don DeVaul, “We have no secrete agenda, but the Bredesen administration is all behind closed doors.”

"We will stay as long as necessary," said Louis Patrick from the Governor's Office, "absolutely, no doubt, we are staying."

“I believe that Governor Bredesen has a problem facing real people and real issues,” said Michael Heinrich of Tennessee ADAPT. “He may speak in generalities and manage the press well, but he has failed completely when he confronts citizens who are effected by his policies. For example, I was with Randy [Alexander] when Bredesen said he would put vent users in institutions; but last Thursday, in front of the press, the governor magically changes his position 180 degrees and talks like he has been working on the issue for some time.”

“Bredesen walks through us several times a day,” said Randy Alexander. “Every day he knows we are here.”

"Once he made up his mind, no other alternatives, no other options were considered."
Representative Joey Hensley

“I remember April eighth when we delivered to this office a ten-point plan, developed by experts who know about health care, and we asked for a speedy response from the Governor. The plan called for the State to save $649 million and allow qualified TennCare recipients to stay," recalled Dr. Dwight Montgomery. “The Governor has never considered what we presented on April eighth.”

- Randy Alexander

MCIL Journal Index 2005

Follow the TennCare Sit-in

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