TJC Story Blog

May 2021

Clarence Black

Clarence Black is a 50-year-old man living in Columbia, Tennessee. He has a lot of pain in his limbs and especially in his arms, likely from previous physical work that he has done that has left his body worn out. He has tried to apply for Social Security Disability and for TennCare many times over the past 10-15 years, and he keeps getting denied. He falls into the Medicaid coverage gap. He wants to work, but he is physically unable. Even when he is able to get a job, they soon realize that he can’t raise his arms to lift things, so they no longer want him to work for them. He has become dependent on his 24-year-old son, but he knows his son has his own life and doesn’t want him to always have to be taking care of his father.

He keeps getting told that he should go to the doctor, but he doesn’t have insurance to afford going to the doctor. He says, “It’s a dead-end road everywhere I turn,” and that it’s frustrating to keep trying and not getting approved for anything. Mr. Black’s story highlights the need for the state of Tennessee to expand Medicaid, so that people like him will no longer get stuck without any access to health insurance.