Contact: Micheline Mendelsohn March 15, 2005
TennCare Saves Lives Coalition
TENNESSEANS MOBILIZE TO OPPOSE HEALTH CARE CUTS
"The Drive to Save Lives" Holds Events in Nine Cities, March 15-24
"The Drive to Save Lives" campaign aims at raising public awareness about the harmful consequences of the TennCare cuts proposed by Governor Phil Bredesen. Several ambulances transporting TennCare enrollees and others opposed to the cuts will cross the state of Tennessee, making stops for public education events. There will be ample photo opportunities at each event.
TennCare enrollees, religious and community leaders, state legislators, health care advocates, and fellow Tennesseans will share personal accounts of their fears about the proposed plan to cut health care to as many as 719,000 people (323,000 people dropped from the program and 396,000 who will lose crucial benefits).
"Governor Bredesen's plan represents the biggest cutback in memory in any state Medicaid program. As a result, Tennessee's most vulnerable people will lose much needed health coverage and are at great risk of joining the ranks of the uninsured," said Tené Hamilton Franklin of the TennCare Saves Lives Coalition.
Under the proposed changes, Tennessee state bureaucrats will make decisions about people's health care, overruling recommendations made by trained physicians. This is a harmful way to make decisions about the kind of care people should receive.
"Tennessee has moved from being a leader in expanding health care access to being the leader in cutting people's health coverage and reducing access to appropriate care," said Patricia Post of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.
The Governor's proposed cuts set a horrible precedent for other states looking at Tennessee as an example. Requiring poor and sick Tennesseans to bear all the risk is an extremely damaging response to a fiscal challenge that other states have managed better.
"The Drive to Save Lives" will visit the following cities:
Tuesday, March 15 Kickoff event in Nashville
Wednesday, March 16 Memphis
Thursday, March 17 Jackson
Friday, March 18 Chattanooga
Saturday, March 19 Monroe County
Monday, March 21 Knoxville
Tuesday, March 22 Tri-Cities
Wednesday, March 23 Cookeville
Thursday, March 24 Closing event in Nashville