TJC Story Blog

Nov 2020

Elisabeth Firestone

I’m Elisabeth, a college-educated, professional musician who’s worked as a church Music Director for over 20 years. In 2014, shortly after I moved to TN and the ACA was implemented, I started receiving Medicaid, unaware it would soon save my life. In 2015, I was diagnosed with a type 2 brain meningioma, which gave me seizures. I immediately needed a craniotomy surgery, in which my skull cap was removed and restored. This procedure costed $10,000.

I was informed late in 2019 that I would be dropped from TennCare. Feeling confused, depressed, and dizzy from my health condition, I filed a TennCare appeal but it was denied. In December 2019, I had a second surgery and suffered an acute brain infection afterwards. I was near death for a month, before neurologists realized the source of the infection. In order to treat it, they removed a large piece of my skull, replacing it with a plastic prosthetic three months later. My life currently depends on my ability to continue to receive continued medical care for this completely unexpected life turn. My neurologist says I require direct laser surgery in my skull to prevent another occurrence. However, TennCare has again notified me that I no longer qualify and will end my coverage. I see no way to meet the medical criteria necessary to receive affordable health insurance rates, with the history I have.

Tennessee lawmakers, please consider Medicaid expansion. There are so many lives who would benefit from the support and care.