CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – People stood outside the federal building in Chattanooga on Friday to show their support for Medicaid expansion.
They were supporting Kelly Gregory, who was one of 11 people arrested earlier this week for a sit-in at Governor Bill Haslam’s Office.
“Our action on Tuesday was not a publicity stunt. I did not go there to get arrested. I went there to have a dialogue with my elected representative,” Gregory said.
This issue has personal significance for Gregory.
“I am involved in this cause because I am a living witness of the importance of expanding health care to as many citizens as possible,” she said.
She is a cancer survivor. In her late thirties she was without insurance because of a preexisting condition.
“And unbeknownst to me during that time I developed breast cancer,” Gregory said.
She says some people in Tennessee are not getting the care they need.
“Right now there are people in the state who are not getting the diabetes they need, the regular cancer screenings that they need and that is unconscionable,” Gregory said.
Members of the Hamilton County Republican Party say Medicaid expansion will not happen anytime soon in our state.
“I think for now there are political problems with getting it passed. The Republic majority has basically said very clearly they are not interested in passing a medicaid expansion at this time,” said Oscar Brock, with the Hamilton County Republican Party.
They say part of the problem is Medicaid expansion has ties to Obamacare.
“Waiting for Washington, for the Trump administration to give them a new plan because they will sooner or later replace Obamacare with a new plan,” Brock said.
But Gregory is hoping there is change. She wants Governor Haslam to call a special session of the joint legislature to debate the issue of Medicaid expansion.