Tennessee Needs To Expand Medicaid

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I am a disabled woman who practiced primary care medicine in Chattanooga for 20 years. I was on staff at Erlanger Medical Center and saw the crucial part it played in community health, caring for the uninsured and for Medicaid patients, as well as people like me who loved the quality of the teaching hospital. I chose to have my daughter there, and they handled her special birth problems in the neonatal intensive care unit. 

Several years of my medical practice were spent as a staff physician at the community health centers which operated in association with Erlanger Medical Center. Again, I was able to care for people who had Medicaid to cover problems that otherwise wouldn't have been diagnosed or treated. Many patients who were uninsured and working couldn't even afford to use the community health centers, and couldn't get onto the Medicaid roles because of limited funds. 

In caring for the poor of my community I saw the results of lack of insurance. People who can't get health screenings and preventive care suffer from the complications of diseases before they reach the health care system. For instance, it is common to diagnose high blood pressure during a screening exam in someone with insurance. That person receives cheap treatment and advice as they continue work. Without insurance, he might come into the health system much later with a severe stroke that leaves him disabled. A woman with early diabetes and insurance could be diagnosed on a screening test during a physical exam and given lifestyle advice and whatever treatment was necessary. Without insurance, that same person might present much later with diabetic kidney damage and blood vessel disease leading to a heart attack. 

Insured people stay healthy and working, and save us money. 

The Affordable Care Act is making it possible for millions to have good quality health insurance they can afford, but many working poor are being left out. In Tennessee the numbers are hundreds of thousands - poor and working poor with no coverage because Governor Haslam and Representative Fleischmann refuse to expand Medicaid. How can they refuse a program that costs our state nothing and that will help families receive the care that we all need? It is time to put people over politics.

Essie Bruell
Chattanooga

Remembering Dr. Jack Willke - And Response

When I first became active as a Right-to-Life leader in 1975, Dr. Jack Willke (and his wife, Barbara) were the preeminent leaders at the National level.  Rarely did you see one without the other. They literally wrote the book used by Pro-Life activists everywhere, The Handbook on Abortion . I carried it everywhere and studied it over and over. Their books sold ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cameras Or Subterfuge?

State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) is an easy-to-like member of the Tennessee Legislature and the fact he is teaming with state senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) to rid the state of its loathsome traffic cameras is indeed a wonderful thing. The legislative action is long overdue, with the biggest winners being the out-of-state camera companies. That alone is just about all you ... (click for more)

2 Hit While Walking On Birmingham Highway; 1 Dies At The Hospital

Two pedestrians were struck by a single vehicle on Highway 11 (Birmingham Highway) in Lookout Valley on Tuesday night. One of those who was struck died after being taken to a local hospital. Police said the other person who was hit was responsive. The incident happened shortly after 7 p.m. at 261 Birmingham Hwy. which is in the area of the Lookout Valley Cracker ... (click for more)

Henry Hopes To Bring E-Filing To Clerk's Office This Year; Saving Almost $222,000 On Personnel

Circuit Court Clerk Larry Henry said he hopes to bring E-Filing of documents and other court papers to the clerk’s office this year.   He said at first it appeared it might take much longer, but that progress is being made to the online program. Mr. Henry told members of the Pachyderm Club that attorneys, litigants and members of the public would be able to go online to ... (click for more)

Double Overtime Thriller: Central Boys Going To State

For all the folks who came to Chattanooga State Tuesday night for the Class AA sectional battle between Livingston Academy and Region 3-AA champ Central, they got their money's worth and more. And they even got some free basketball to boot. Needing a couple of overtimes, the Purple Pounders will be heading to Murfreesboro and MTSU's Murphy Center next week for the TSSAA State ... (click for more)

Blackman Blazes A Trail To State By Bashing Bradley, 55-35

(Story will be updated) MUFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Class AAA state champions are still alive and well. Blackman raced past outmanned Bradley Central, 55-35, Tuesday night in a Class AAA sectional victory that blazed a path right to the boys state tournament at nearby Middle Tennessee State University starting on March 11. The Blaze (24-5) will be making their fourth ... (click for more)