Beyond imposing immense suffering on people in the lower and middle class alike, the lack of physical and mental health insurance creates a collective burden to which we must respond. For the poor, emergency rooms become the only form of care available, and then, only when care is often expensive or even too late. Routine but essential care like prenatal checkups, mental health treatment, diabetes monitoring, cancer screenings become out of reach until serious damage is done, both to the patient in need as well as to the larger society. Health care costs for us all are driven up by this. Hospitals are closing due to lack of funding, a critical situation for all, especially in rural areas. The savings are enormous. In mental health care alone, we can save some $40 million a year if we would expand insurance to the poorest. Of course, as we see daily, mental health problems spill over to everyone. But most of all, so many of our most vulnerable neighbors suffer with untreated illnesses and injuries because they cannot afford care. InsureTennessee is a win, win situation for us all. You can find out more about InsureTennessee at https://www.tnjustice.org/gap.
Many of our friends experiencing homelessness bounce back after short episodes of homelessness. However, far too often people fall into chronic homelessness, making it difficult to get back on their feet.
Open Table Nashville is in collaboration with community partners to fight for more low-income affordable housing.
We believe in a culture of restoration, not condemnation and punishment.