Medicaid Expansion by Merrilee Wineinger

Isaiah 1:16-17 reads: “Wash! Clean yourselves! Get your injustice out of my sight! Cease to do evil and learn to do good! Search for justice and help the oppressed! Protect those who are orphaned and plead the case of those who are widowed!”

Marching orders! Loud and clear Isaiah gives the leaders of Israel their marching orders. Stepping into Isaiah’s shoes, clergy and laity across Tennessee echo the same marching orders to our elected-officials — make a fresh start, create laws and policies that help not harm Tennesseans, seek out those in need, protect our children, and care for our seniors. Today, we are here to plead the case for those who have been abandoned by life’s circumstances – the uninsured – our friends, neighbors, families and the church members sitting in the pew next to us. These are the faithful without access to affordable, high-quality health care insurance.

Everyone has a story – people on Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, employee insurance and those who are uninsured

Like Forrest who had health insurance and Mary who didn’t. They met while undergoing dialysis treatments. Shortly after treatments started, Mary was gone. Mary had to stop receiving treatments because she had no insurance. Forrest’s heart broke for his friend. He knew Mary had received her death sentence of 8 to 10 days. Had Mary been able to continue her dialysis treatment, she may have lived another 5-10 years.

And Joe, who did not qualify for TennCare because he was a single adult male. Joe also had to stop his treatments. In Joe’s case, he could not get the cancer treatments that he needed. Joe still in his thirties had a full-life in front of him. But Joe’s life ended prematurely, leaving a hole in his family that will never be filled.

When asked about expanding Medicaid, candidate Bill Lee gave this answer.
“No, Obamacare will not expand in Tennessee under my watch. Health care
costs are skyrocketing, and that would make it even worse. Throughout our health care system, there are no incentives for reducing costs or investing in prevention. We have to address those core issues first.”**

Reducing cost is important and should be a priority, but not before Tennesseans have the health care insurance that they desperately need.
Governor Bill Lee, ——- the lack of healthcare insurance and hospital closings are our state’s highest health priority. Isaiah, the most quoted prophet in the New Testament, has laid out your marching orders . “Search for justice and help the

I implore you to live out your faith, to make sure another Mary will live 5-10 years instead of only 8-12 days, to make sure that another Joe doesn’t have to die prematurely and miss decades of his life, and to make sure that our rural community hospitals stay open.

Stop the blood-letting. Hard-working Tennesseans need health care insurance
now. You can make it happen.

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Press Conference 11/16/18
Printed with permission of Merrilee Wineinger.

Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.