TN-Oak Ridge: Expanding Medicaid Action Planning Session

Scott Julius of Oak Ridge writes:

Talking about expanding Medicaid in Tennessee at the House Party.Hope has been abundant in Tennessee and indeed nationwide with the successful enrollment of millions of people in the Affordable Care Act. Now Tennesseans can have affordable healthcare, many for the first time. That said, it is a shame that expanding Medicaid, a logical step that’s the perfect complement to the Affordable Care Act, has hit so many roadblocks in this state. The benefits of an expended Medicaid are plenty. For example, for every dollar spent by Tennessee on this we get back from the federal government thirty dollars. On top of that this will save lives. Estimates vary on the exact number, but premature deaths average upwards of three per day due to effects from not expanding Medicaid. Our elected officials are failing the very people they claim to represent by opposing this.

On the afternoon of Sunday April 13th, 2014 concerned action takers with Organizing for Action met at the home of Tom B in Oak Ridge. This gathering took the form of an informal information party to chart the road ahead for passing Medicaid expansion. Over beverages and snacks, those gathered first learned about the background to Medicaid expansion in our state. A leader with Organizing for Action spoke of what has been happening thus far in Tennessee with this issue. We watched a short video about a volunteer medical unit in Bristol that provided free medical care to people in need. One could see just how desperate some of those people were. Those are the people an expansion of Medicaid would help the most. Upon the conclusion of the video, we talked among ourselves about the best course of action. We all knew the steep political opposition to this would be a mountain to overcome, but all were ready to face it head on. After all, we’re the people who worked tirelessly to help make the Affordable Care Act a reality so a good challenge suits us well!

Medicaid expansion needs to be the reality in Tennessee that the Affordable Care Act has become. Therefore, plans were put into motion to chart how we’d climb this mountain of opposition. Many gathered volunteered their homes, time, and computers for this cause. Even people who weren’t able to attend today made it known in advance that they wanted in on getting Medicaid passed in the Volunteer State. When we departed that afternoon, the path was paved for a worthy cause to be pursued. The health and lives of many Tennesseans are at stake here. Many of us came out and said this afternoon that they were in on Medicaid expansion. Are you going to be counted among those who are in on this too?

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