Senate Districts 29, 30, 31, 33 and most of District 32 are Shelby County. (Tipton County, District 32, will be covered in a separate article.) The Senators involved are Ophelia Ford (Dist. 29), Jim Kyle (Dist. 30), Brian Kelsey (Dist. 31), Mark Norris (Dist. 32), and Reginald Tate (Dist. 33). How will Shelby County fare if Governor Haslam does not present a federally acceptable Tennessee Plan for Medicaid Expansion?
Shelby County is the largest county in the state at 927,644 citizens. It has a 9.10% unemployment rate and a 17.70% poverty rate. The median annual household income is $46,102. In comparison, 135% of the federal annual poverty level for a family of six is $42,646.50. When the county’s median income – which means the figure right in the middle of its family income range – is so close to the 135% federal poverty level, many Shelby County residents will fall into the coverage gap between TennCare and the HealthCare Marketplace.
Shelby County currently has 19 hospitals. Unfortunately, five of these are in danger of curtailing their operations or closing because of the change in the federal funding formula for indigent care. These hospitals are Baptist Memorial – Collierville (323 employees), Delta Medical Center (448 employees), Methodist Hospital – North (1,065 employees), Methodist Hospital – South (728 employees), and Methodist Universty Healthcare (2,332 employees). These figures represent a significant potential loss of jobs as well as health care capacity.
24.20% of the Shelby County population is age 18 and under. Given the facts listed above, many of these youngsters are in danger of being without adequate medical care.
Concerned Shelby County citizens should consult their voter registration cards and call their senators. Senator Ophelia Ford can be reached at 615-741-1767, Senator Jim Kyle at 615-741-4167, Senator Brian Kelsey at 615-741-3036, Senator Mark Norris at 615-741-1967, and Senator Reginald Tate at 615-741-2509.