In our editorial
this week, Scene
Editor (and boss extraordinaire) Liz Garrigan calls for creative new solutions to the painful TennCare problem -- humane responses from average (and well-heeled) Tennesseans, not the pointless probing and posturing that comes from Capitol Hill. She writes:
Screw candlelight vigils and letters to elected officials. We envision something more aggressive, and that doesn't require anyone's actions but our own: milk bottles with the pictures of former TennCare enrollees placed beside cash registers across the state, billboards asking those traveling our interstates why we can fund tax breaks for Nissan but not heart medication for Mrs. Smith, a high-profile public relations firm -- or a coalition of them -- unafraid to piss off state officials and willing to offer its services pro bono to such a campaign, and mailings asking potential donors to send money to agencies trying to meet the growing demand of Tennessee's sick and poor.
And you know what? She has a point. Government has failed to protect the poor, sick and elderly -- huge drug companies, whatever their reasons, have shown more compassion than state officials -- so perhaps it's time to give up on waiting for the bureaucrats and instead put forth new solutions to the state health care crisis.
Liz has started the debate. Now let's take it statewide. Let's get all kinds of folks involved: fundraisers, preachers, PR flacks looking to reclaim their souls (hey, it's a big tent), unions, Republicans, Democrats, kids. Let's send some emails, make some phone calls, get together in a room, lock the doors and figure out some solutions. It will take a group of engaged citizens willing to think outside the box. And if one person suffers a little less because of these efforts, they will have been worth the cost.