Press release from the Democratic Caucus of the Tennessee House of Representatives, June 4, 2014:
Democrats Look for Real Solutions to Income Inequality
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Wednesday, June 4, 2014) – On Tuesday, Governor Bill Haslam addressed a group of Republican activists and told them that the GOP needs to take the issue of income inequality seriously. Democrats are asking Governor Haslam to do more than pay lip service to working families by expanding Medicaid in Tennessee.
“While we certainly applaud Governor Haslam’s recent realization that income inequality exists, people need more than just words” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “A good first step in addressing this issue would be to stop stalling and accept federal funds for the expansion of our state’s Medicaid program. This will save hospitals like the one in Brownsville and keep rural areas from falling further into the income inequality gap.”
A study earlier this year by the Brookings Institution found that the Affordable Care Act, if fully implemented, will improve the well-being of those at the bottom rung of the economic ladder by making health coverage more affordable. Unfortunately, the positive impact is greatly decreased in states that refuse to use federal funds to expand Medicaid to those working families at 138% of poverty level or below.
“Medical bankruptcy, lost wages and early, preventable deaths all contribute to the income inequality problem in America,” said Rep. Raumesh Akabari (D-Memphis) “If we want to get serious about this problem, let’s start with the fact that hundreds of thousands of working Tennesseans are unnecessarily being denied access to health care insurance that will save their lives and livelihoods.”