Coverage Matters.

For over 50 years, public health programs have been a bedrock for our nation’s health care coverage. In Tennessee, half of both our children and our nursing home residents are covered by TennCare.

But that coverage, and more, is at risk.

When people have access to health care coverage,

they do better. 

 

That's a fact that's been proven over and over again. However, in the next few years, there will be attacks on these bi-partisan bedrocks of health coverage through attempts to pass block grants that will drastically cut our health care funding, as well as take away the protections that our residents currently have. 

These changes will create upheaval in our health care system unlike any that we’ve seen in decades, and will affect TennCare, Medicare, the Marketplace, and every single person who has private insurance. 

In the days to come, we must make sure that the millions individuals and families in Tennessee who benefit from programs that are at risk do not lose their coverage. We will stand with our clients for affordable, quality health care, and we invite you to join us by taking action. Our health is at stake.


Upcoming threats to Medicaid

 

The National Association of [State] Medicaid Directors, a majority of whom work for Republican Governors, issued a statement in December that warns:

Medicaid’s role in the health care system must be understood and appreciated to prevent serious unintended consequences for the oldest, frailest and most medically complex Americans. Therefore, any substantive changes to Medicaid’s financing structure must be done in close consideration of the complex and interconnected web of statutory and regulatory requirements. Failure to do so could expose states to the greatest inter-governmental transfer of financial risk in the country’s history.

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Who would be affected by changes?

The stories below are people whose health insurance is at risk in the coming years. The changes that may be coming not only put them at risk, but damage their families and their communities as well. Do you have a story to tell? Click here to share it.

Phyllis Sweatt Square

Future Care for Our Future Selves

June 23, 2017

Phyllis suffered from lead poisoning when she was young, and now she relies on Medicaid to cover her care in a nursing home.

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Charlie Ford

Protect Children on Medicaid

June 21, 2017

Charlie Ford is autistic and relies on Medicaid to get the care he needs. Losing his coverage would be a huge obstacle to his happiness.

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Clay Vanhooser 1

Medicaid Gives Hope

June 20, 2017

Clay Vanhooser relies on Medicaid to get the behavioral therapy that he needs to stay safe. It is scary to imagine what will happen to him if cuts are made to the program that makes his treatment possible.

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Morefield Girls

Protecting the Future of Our Children

June 19, 2017

The Morefield family relies on the government protections afforded under the ACA to keep their daughters alive. Without Obamacare, they could lose everything.

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Amanda Foy Family

Giving Children Back Their Voices

June 16, 2017

The Foy family has two young boys who both have special needs. Medicaid has given them the ability to go to the therapy they need. It continues to insure that these boys will develop to their fullest potential.

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Margaret Faye Perry

Margaret Perry

May 30, 2017

Margaret is almost 70 years old but because of Tenncare, she feels healthy enough to get back to work. She has aspirations to get back into sales and to start a tutoring program at a local church.

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James Nixon Square

James Nixon

May 26, 2017

James had an aneurysm in his brain that led to a stroke and Parkinson’s Syndrome symptoms. Without CHOICES, it would be impossible to afford the in-home care he needs.

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Emma Pipkin Square

Emma Pipkin

May 26, 2017

Emma has had to take care of her paralyzed mother for as long as she can remember. The stress that has put on her has resulted in her own conditions. Tenncare makes it possible for her to get the care she needs so that she can succeed in school and help her mother at home.

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Lucy Howell Square

Lucy Howell

May 26, 2017

Even though Lucy has worked her whole life, she isn’t given access to health coverage because of Tennessee’s decision not to expand medicaid. With her heart problem, she could die without treatment.

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Joe Temple Square

Joe Temple

May 24, 2017

Joe suffers from bipolar disorder, heart disease, and strokes. With only 30% of his heart function left, Medicaid ensures that he can have the life saving care that he needs.

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Venice Turner Square

Venice Turner

May 22, 2017

Venice relies on CHOICES to get the services that she needs to live with her genetic condition that has disabled her. Taking away funding for Medicaid will force her out of her own house and into an expensive nursing home.

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Carla Laws Square

Carla Laws

May 22, 2017

Carla is 73 years old and worked for Boeing for years. She started having strokes when she got older, but because of CHOICES she is still able to live at home instead of in a nursing home.

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Emma Gammon Square

Emma Gammon

May 19, 2017

Emma has worked her entire life. Now that she is getting older, her health has been declining. If it weren’t for TennCare, she wouldn’t be doing as well as she is now.

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Meredith House 5

Meredith House

May 19, 2017

Meredith, and her children, suffer from a genetic condition that requires expensive treatment. The Affordable Care Act and CHIP make it possible for Meredith and her kids to get the care that they need. Cuts to these programs would devastate their family.

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Angie Jamison Square

Angie & Andrew Jamison

May 9, 2017

Andrew has a rare heart condition that has required multiple surgeries to fix. His mother, Angie, also had a brain tumor that has been another huge bump in the road. If Medicaid funding is cut by the AHCA, they will lose their ability to get treatment.

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Jessica Pipkin Square

Jessica Pipkin

May 9, 2017

Jessica became a quadriplegic after a car accident 12 years ago. Now, because of Medicaid, she is able to get care at home so that she can be a mother to her two children.

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Emad Gendi Square

Emad Gendi

May 8, 2017

Emad is Egyptian and currently works as a taxi driver. Medicaid makes it possible for his whole family to be covered which is especially important for his daughter who is autistic. He fears that if Medicaid funding is cut, that his family will have to move to a new country.

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Jamie Abernathy Square

Aaron Abernathy

May 8, 2017

Aaron has had special needs his entire life. He is the center of his mother’s world but since turning 21, his home care benefits have been removed. Even though it would be cheaper to keep him at home, the rules don’t allow it. Cutting Medicaid is the wrong direction to go. Instead, it should be fixed and expanded.

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Robert Meese Square

Rob Meese

May 8, 2017

About a year ago, Robert was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. If it weren’t for Medicaid, that diagnosis would have been a death sentence instead.

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Sydney Reed

Sydney Reed

May 8, 2017

Sydney is seventeen and has aspirations to become a musical theater performer. She wants to work with special needs children through theater. If she hadn’t been able to get coverage through CHIP, these dreams wouldn’t be possible.

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Darla Russell Square

Darla Russell

May 3, 2017

Darla has been taking care of her husband Jim for 29 years since he got in a horrible work accident. Even though she is legally blind and her husband relies on her for help, she is unable to get any kind of insurance.

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Samuel Shirley and Carol Coppinger Square

Samuel Shirley

May 3, 2017

Sam Shirley has a heart condition and bipolar disorder, but as long as he is able to get his medicine, he spends his time helping elderly neighbors, walking, and making sure that his parents are taken care of. The defunding of Medicaid would be disastrous for him and his family.

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Debbie Digrazia Square

Debbie Digrazia

May 2, 2017

Debbie is trapped in the coverage gap with conditions that prevent her from working. If Medicaid were expanded, she could get the care she needs as well as a job. She really wants to get back to being a contributing member of society but without health coverage, she can’t.

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Barbara Gooch Square

Barbara Gooch

May 1, 2017

Barbara worked her entire life until becoming sick. Since she can’t get insured and can’t afford health care, she is too unhealthy to participate in the job market. If she could have gotten insured, she would be able to work again.

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Timothy & Joyce Smith (3)

Timothy and Joyce Smith

April 27, 2017

Tim Smith had a disease that made it extremely difficult to eat enough without the help of a specific drug. Since it wasn’t covered for his particular condition, Joyce and Tim had to make tremendous sacrifices to get it. Their story is testament to the fact that Medicaid is already cut too thin.

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Christina Wolfe

Christina Wolfe

April 27, 2017

Christina’s daughter Adelai caught meningitis when she was a baby that caused her to be differently-abled. Because of Medicaid funding for ECF Choices, Adelai is able to get the special care that she needs. Cutting Medicaid will be disastrous for her care.

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AndreaHultman_editor_cafe

Andrea Hultman

April 25, 2017

Andrea has type 1 diabetes and runs a small business with her sister. The Affordable Care Act makes it possible for her to maintain coverage to pay for the treatment she needs.

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Kristina Gordon

Kristina Gordon

April 21, 2017

About a year ago, Kristina had her first child, Amber. Without Medicaid, the cost of all of the medical bills would have devastated their family.

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Kelly Gregory. Photo by Billy Kingsley for Kelly Gregory.

Kelly Gregory

April 20, 2017

Kelly couldn’t afford preventative care because of her inability to find insurance, and the result was the development of terminal cancer. Medicaid has helped her fight to extend her life and now she fights to change the system that prevented her from catching the cancer earlier.

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Kizzy Williams Square

Kizzy Williams

April 19, 2017

Kizzy is a single mother of four children. Without Medicaid, she couldn’t afford treatment for her autistic son or the medicine for her own medical needs.

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Cody Day Square

Cody Day

April 19, 2017

Cody relies on home help nurses to get the care he needs while still being able to remain with his family. Without Medicaid, he would require immediate and continuous care in a hospital that would be bad for him, his family, and tax payers.

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Vickie Kelly Square

Vickie Kelly

April 19, 2017

Vickie has worked her entire life until just recently. Without the help of Medicaid, she would not be alive today.

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Sandra Prater

Sandra Prater

April 18, 2017

Sandra was injured in a hospital back in 2003 while working. Now she relies on Medicaid to keep her healthy. Without it, she would die.

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Bates, Natalie Photo

Natalie Bates

April 18, 2017

Natalie works with individuals who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities. Every time she goes to work, she sees the importance of the Affordable Care Act.

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Mayela Stephenson Square

Mayela Stephenson

April 17, 2017

Mayela worked hard for her entire life until her job caused her disability. Medicaid has made it possible for her to stay taken care of after all the time she spent doing hard labor.

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Debra Rowlands

Debra Rowlands

April 11, 2017

Debra has worked as a factory worker and a as health coordinator for social services. She has osteoarthritis and a heart condition that require frequent, manageable check ups. If her health coverage disappears, those diseases will wreck her life.

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Judy Gallagher Square

Judy Gallagher

March 10, 2017

Judy was let go unexpectedly and found the Affordable Care Act was the only way for her to get coverage. Because of the ACA, she is able to continue seeing her doctor and getting affordable preventative care.

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Sonya Weber Square

Sonya Weber

March 2, 2017

Sonya lost her insurance when her husband died and she could no longer afford it alone. She stopped getting preventative care because she could not pay for it. When the Affordable Care Act was passed, she was able to start getting treatment for her thyroid condition again.

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James Mosley Square

James Mosley

March 2, 2017

James used to worry about his uninsured daughter until the Affordable Care Act came around. After going uninsured and being full of worry for almost a year, she was finally able to get an affordable plan.

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Jodi Bartlett

Jodi Bartlett

March 2, 2017

After decades of frequent kidney stones, Jodi became very sick and was diagnosed with medullary sponge disease. She has had a very successful career in emergency mental health but now that she has stopped working due to her illness, she relies on Obamacare to stay covered. Without it, she would die.

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The Reed family from Knoxville, TN is one of many families who will be left without an insurer in the Marketplace in 2018.

Kerry Reed

March 2, 2017

Kerry is a single mother of three. After discovering a severe allergy, she was cut from her insurance. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Kerry was able to get covered again just in time to help her manage with diseases she has newly been diagnosed with.

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Kathryn Corley Square

Kathryn Corley

February 24, 2017

Kathryn is a mother of four children, two with special health care needs. Even though they have always diligently paid for their insurance, the Corley family was denied coverage for essential services. The Affordable Care Act made it illegal for insurance companies to continue denying life-saving care to Kathryn’s children.

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Carolyn Christopher

Dede Christopher

February 24, 2017

Dede is an architectural illustrator, small business owner, and mother of two kids. The Affordable Care Act has made her business insurance options diverse, allowed her children to stay on her insurance until 26, and given her preventative coverage for cancer screenings, among other things.

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Ellen Bloomfield Square

Ellen Bloomfield

February 24, 2017

Ellen and her husband own a small business in Nashville. Because of the Affordable Care Act, they have been able to provide health insurance for all of their employees. Losing the Affordable Care Act will devastate their business and employees.

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Kathy Miller Square

Kathy Miller

February 24, 2017

Kathy is a Vanderbilt alumnus working as a mental health therapist. She lost her heath insurance in 2013 because it was too expensive and, as a result, developed cancer. After she got insurance through the federal marketplace, she was able to get life-saving surgery to remove her cancer.

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Abby Wintker Burris Square

Abby Wintker Burris

February 24, 2017

Abby is a graduate student at UT Knoxville working towards her masters in information science. If it weren’t for the Affordable Care Act, she wouldn’t be able to stay covered.

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Glenn Schaefer Square

Glenn Schaefer

February 23, 2017

Glenn saw his entire life fall apart, but because of the Affordable Care Act he was able to piece it back together. Now he is a self-employed small business owner and pursuing his PhD.

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Carol Fontenot Square

Carol Fontenot

February 23, 2017

Before The Affordable Care Act, Carol couldn’t get health insurance unless her employer offered it. Her diabetes treatment includes really expensive medications that would be unaffordable as an out-of-pocket cost. She will be in serious trouble if the ACA is repealed.

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Debra Pointer Square

Debra Pointer

February 23, 2017

Debra lost her job when her high blood pressure started causing more problems. Because she couldn’t work, she couldn’t afford treatment. Eventually, she was able to get coverage through the federal marketplace and her health improved enough to work again.

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Marlene Taylor Square

Marlene Taylor

February 23, 2017

Marlene is a writer and former nurse who has benefited tremendously from the Affordable Care Act. She tried to retire from nursing and transition to being a writer from home but wasn’t able to get insurance. The ACA made it possible for her to retire and still remain covered.

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