Love And Hate Mail 

Unsung heroes

Unsung heroes

As one who voted for Gov. Bredesen, I can't express how disturbing it is to hear him describe the work of the Tennessee Justice Center as obstructionist ("Your Move Phil," Nov. 18). The work of Gordon Bonnyman could be more accurately described as faithful, honorable and heroic. Mr. Bonnyman's and the TJC's unswerving dedication to human rights and constitutional law is America at its best.

I have a hard time believing what I'm hearing. Is our Democratic governor, charged with protecting the health and safety—indeed, the homeland security—of Tennesseans instead angrily threatening to take away the very shield that protects hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans from the devastations of chronic disease, bankruptcy and homelessness? Is our governor really trying to paralyze the tongues of Mr. Bonnyman and other advocates who speak for the medically impoverished? Is he actually demanding that they comply with an effort to close the eyes and ears of the federal courts to the constitutional rights of citizens? How can this possibly result in justice?

Who's waging war upon whom here, and why? Might not the pharmaceutical/medicinal industry, insistent upon its unlimited "rights" to unbounded profits, bear at least equal responsibility for cost overruns to that of Mr. Bonnyman? Might not the industry more justly deserve at least part of the governor's anger? Whose pockets do the megabucks end up in, anyway?

From this vantage point, it appears Gov. Bredesen is caught up in the temptation to blame citizens who are the victims of runaway profiteering. No one should be confused about what is at risk here. Should a threat to do away with TennCare be realized, current TennCare enrollees will not be the only losers. This will affect us all. The health care necessities of impoverished Tennesseans will not go away. Emergency rooms will be flooded with people who can't pay. Families, nonprofit clinics and local hospitals will be bankrupted trying to fill the gap. Good and innocent people will die for lack of vital and overpriced medications. Insurers will demand higher premiums. More people with untreated mental illness will end up in the streets, jails and prisons. Local governments will have more and more homeless to count, shuffle around and/or bury.

He's making what may prove to be a life-or-death decision for 430,000 innocent people at one time. We trust that he will make the hard, but right choice—for the health and wholeness of all.

James W. Polk

communityjim@yahoo.com (Nashville)

Work it out

I am a 36-year-old Type 1 diabetic currently enrolled in the TennCare program. I work hard and pay my taxes. I do not abuse the program or take it for granted. I am not eligible for Medicaid or any other form of health insurance. I am one of many whose lives depend on the existence of the TennCare program.

Any reasonable person understands that this program is seriously in need of reform, and any reasonable TennCare recipient is more than willing to except certain benefit limitations if those limitations allow us to stay on the program. How is it that money, taxes, politics and budgets can actually supercede the issue of people living or dying? I have a family, a home, a life history.... Who is going to explain to my family that I'm no longer here because Gov. Bredesen and Mr. Bonnyman weren't willing to work out a compromise ("Your Move, Phil," Nov. 18)?

If I could possibly afford my own medical expenses, I would pay for them. If I could possibly get health insurance any other way, I would get it. If I were offered any way to stay on this program, I would take it. For either side in this argument to give up until a compromise is reached is not only callous but also inhumane.

Kimberly Cuffe

5110 Kentucky Ave. (Nashville)

One article too many

The title of Handel's famous oratorio is simply Messiah ("Holiday Events," Nov. 18). Drop the article and you'll not only look classy, but you'll also be correct. Merry Christmas, God bless you and hallelujah!

Bill Fisher

wfisher@mtsu.edu (Murfreesboro)

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