Senate Districts 19, 20, and 21, plus a small portion of Senate District 18, consist of Davidson County/Metropolitan Nashville. The state senators involved are Senator Ferrell Haile (District 18), Senator Thelma Harper (District 19), Senator Steven Dickerson (District 20), and Senator Douglas Henry (District 21 – retiring after this session). How will Tennessee’s Capital fare if Governor Haslam does not submit a federally acceptable Tennessee Plan for Medicaid Expansion?
Davidson County has a 6.60% unemployment rate, not at all bad in this state. The poverty rate, 20.30%, is another matter entirely. What’s really shocking is that, with a population of 626,861, Davidson’s median household income is $28,526. Remember, ‘median income’ means right in the middle of the county’s range of income. Tiny Clay County’s 7,861 residents have a median household income of $28,642.
Why is this median income so shocking in a Metropolitan Area of over 600,000 people? Because 135% of the federal poverty level for a family of three is $26,365.50. Unless the Governor presents a viable form of Medicaid Expansion, many of the capital’s citizens are going to fall in the coverage gap. Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act was meant to cover people between the 100% poverty level and the 138% poverty level.
16% of Metro citizens are veterans. The Veterans Administration has one medical center, two outpatient clinics, a community based outpatient clinic at Meharry, and a vet center. There is also a regional office for Veterans Benefits Administration.
Davidson County has 11 hospitals, but three of them are in danger of having to curtail operations or close their doors because of the change in federal payment for indigent care. This includes Metro Nashville General Hospital with 649 employees. General Hospital is one of the two in Nashville that have traditionally treated indigents; the other is Vanderbilt. Also at risk is Skyline Medical Center Madison Campus, 203 employees, which includes an Alive Hospice and psychiatric services. The other is Southern Hills Medical Center with 352 employees.
If you're in the area, you know that temperatures dipped and it's very cold. Some of these kids are lucky to have one shirt and pair of pants that fit dress code standards. Some don't have coats. There are several homeless kids here. If you'd like to do something in addition to prayer, we invite to give $20 for a coat for a student. It's my understanding they can wear any solid color coat.
Concerned Metro citizens should check their voter registration, then call the appropriate senator. Senator Ferrell Haile can be contacted at 615-741-1999, Senator Dickerson at 615-741-6679, Senator Harper at 615-741-2453, and Senator Henry at 615-741-3291.