Emotional meeting calls to save TennCare - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Emotional meeting calls to save TennCare

Liz Fitzgerald's 34-year-old daughter Tiki was too sick to come to a town hall meeting on Tenncare.

"She's in bed with kidney failure," a tearful Fitzgerald told a panel of elected officials Friday night.

Fitzgerald was among dozens of people affected by recent Tenncare cuts who came to tell their heart wrenching stories.  Many were bound to wheel chairs and dependent on oxygen. Dozens say they will die without the prescriptions Tenncare paid for up until a few days ago.

Despite what has become a healthcare crisis for thousands, some lawmakers say Governor Phil Bredesen's budget provides more healthcare per capita than any state in the country.

"It is appropriate that we're standing in a school board having this meeting because we spend all our money on healthcare we're not going to have money for education," said state Senator Jim Kyle of Memphis.

But state senator Steven Cohen says the governor ignored obvious alternatives.

"But he wants to run for reelection on the issue of no new taxes and a balanced budget, well that's a good thing but not on the backs of people who are dying and sick," said Cohen.

Others like state representative Beverly Marrero are optimistic.

"We think if enough of the citizens speak out and enough of the stories get heard then the governor will respond," said Marrero.

But, Liz Fitzgerald told the panel that her daughter doesn't have that kind of time.

"Her medical stops August 15th she can't see her doctors anymore what is she gonna do? I want to know if the governor of Tennessee is going to sign her death certificate," said Fitzgerald.

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