After the close of the legislative session, the media coverage focused on the political “winners” and “losers” of the session. What’s missing from this coverage of insider games are the real-world consequences to the people of Tennessee.
Yesterday, a hospital in rural Haywood County, Tennessee announced it would be closing its in-patient and emergency services, which is a direct consequence of the state’s failure to expand Medicaid. Our failure to join a majority of the states in expanding Medicaid puts many of our hospitals at risk.
As the Tennessee Hospital Association President said today: “We’ve seen this coming since the state decided not to do expansion. We anticipate that there will be other hospitals that will be closing as well.” Because our political system has failed, we’re losing jobs and hurting communities. We're also risking the lives of people who will increasingly be forced to go 25-40 miles to receive the emergency care they need.
The legislature also stands in the way of the creation of 1,200 new jobs at the Volkswagen facility in Chattanooga, not to mention the thousands of jobs created by suppliers that would inevitably follow. Whichever side of the union debate you’re on, a second line at the Volkswagen plant is good for everyone. Now that UAW has dropped its NLRB challenge, the state should make clear that any economic incentives extended to Volkswagen are not conditioned on whether Volkswagen allows its hard-working employees to organize.
What the legislature does matters to the lives of people in Tennessee. From health care, to education, to jobs, to public safety, the legislature’s actions have significant consequences for all of us. That’s why we all have to do our part to turn things around.
As a state senator, I will work to get things done rather than merely succeed in political games. But I need your help. With under 100 days to the August 7 primary, there is a lot of work to do. Sign up today to volunteer for our campaign. We need your energy, your ideas, and your help knocking on doors, writing postcards, and representing the campaign at community events.