Tuesday, May 10, 2005

TennCare cuts and the mentally ill
Thanks to Walter for pointing me to the cover article in the current Nashville Scene, an autobiographical piece by a bi-polar woman who will soon see our state's coverage of her medication--which would cost her about $700/month--greatly reduced if not dropped altogether, due to our ("Democratic") Governor's plan to curtail the ballooning costs of our aggressive Medicaid program and funnel the money into education.
What if I were completely on my own—no resources, no extended family, no loving little village to gather round me—with a limited education and few contacts or marketable talents?

When our medication is cut off, we will suffer. I will be back in the hospital, because if I'm not functioning, my retired parents would be in a pinch to pay the house note and $700 a month. For one emergency room visit and the three-day stay in a psych unit (that's all you get these days, which is no help at all, really), it's almost the same as one year of the meds that have me functioning quite well and contributing to society.

I'm not going to jail. I'm not going to the homeless shelter. But what do you think is going to happen to many of those 30,000 mentally ill on TennCare who are suddenly jerked off the lifeline?

Good luck getting your broken arm set. The ERs are going to be jammed. Be nice to the people under the bridge—there's going to be a lot more of them. If you hear the jails are overcrowded, don't complain.

We're just like you, except for the mis√ěring synapses. It's not a character thing. It's not a moral thing. We can't just try harder, pray more, pull ourselves out of it.
Meanwhile, Governor Bredesen, who is up for re-election in 2006, has started something of his own blog.

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