For one Memphis family, running the Medicaid gauntlet exposed the need for more healthcare access—not less

An unprecedented block grant is the last thing Tennessee needs, says Tosha Downey, after navigating the system for her ailing dad.

It’s no understatement to call Tosha Downey a daddy’s girl.

As an only child, William and Geraldine Downey put everything into helping their daughter grow into a decent, caring person who now works as advocacy director at a Memphis education nonprofit. There is nothing she won’t do for her father, 67, so when he went into cardiac arrest in June after picking up a heavy table at his regular poker game, she jumped into action.

“He fell and had a head injury and was out for four days,” Tosha said. “He started to gradually recover and come back this way.”

Tosha describes her father, William Downey, as a good-natured Southern gentleman. He worked as a heavy equipment operator, “the trucks that move the dirt,” she said. In his community, he’s known as the mayor of South Memphis.

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