On Friday, Governor Bill Lee toured rural counties in southern middle Tennessee touting what he called his legislative accomplishments.
It’s worth noting that the counties he toured are home to residents with crushing medical debt. Additionally, many citizens in these counties face a lack of access to health insurance. While Lee failed to apologize for his health policy failures, the citizens of this area and all of Tennessee should be holding Lee accountable.
His steadfast refusal to expand Medicaid — at no cost to Tennessee taxpayers — is creating a crisis in a state that already leads the nation in both rural hospital closures and medical debt.
Here’s more (data from The Sycamore Institute) on the state of healthcare in each of the counties Lee visited:
28% of residents have medical debt in collections on their credit report
Between 11% and 14% of Giles County residents do not have health insurance
30% of residents have medical debt in collections on their credit report
14-17% of Lawrence County residents do not have health insurance
26% of residents have medical debt in collections on their credit report
8-11% of Lincoln County residents do not have health insurance
33% of residents have medical debt in collections on their credit report
14-17% of Bedford County residents do not have health insurance
According to Andy Spears, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action:
“Bill Lee’s stubborn refusal to expand Medicaid is an absolute policy failure. The current state of healthcare in these counties and all across our state is unacceptable. We lead the nation in rural hospital closures. We lead the nation in medical debt. Instead of announcing a plan to move forward and improve the lives of the residents of these counties, Lee is busy selling the snake oil of his Administration’s ‘success’. It’s disappointing and shameful. Tennesseans in Giles, Lawrence, Lincoln, and Bedford counties and all over our state deserve straight talk and real solutions.”
For more on our work fighting for healthcare, follow @TNCitizenAction