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Faith leaders host letter signing ceremony on behalf of neighbors with pre-existing conditions

  faith leaders
Kathleen Jones, Brittany Campagna, Dr. Monique Moultrie, Rev. Eugene Se’Bree, Pastor Turner, and Minister Kelli X.

NASHVILLE, TN – Earlier today local pastors and community members gathered in the Sanctuary of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church to host a letter signing ceremony to raise awareness about the threats against our neighbors with pre-existing conditions. Organized by the Southern Christian Coalition, pastors encouraged others to join them and sign an open letter to Tenn. Attorney General Slatery asking that he withdraw our state from a lawsuit claiming protections for pre-existing conditions are “unconstitutional.”

Pastors spoke about addiction and mental illness, both pre-existing conditions that often go overlooked. Community members shared how their lives have been affected caring for loved ones with pre-existing conditions. If AG Slatery’s lawsuit Texas v. HHS prevails, millions of Tennesseans struggling with pre-existing conditions could lose their health care coverage.

“During the 1980s and 1990s, we handled drug addiction by just arresting the problem. We now have an issue of opioid addiction. I believe without fixing this problem we will be in a similar situation in the 1980s, but this time we can get it right,” said Pastor James Turner, Jr. of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. “Addiction is a pre-existing condition that needs to be dealt with. Without affordable access to health care, people struggling with addiction cannot get the treatment they want and need. Help the problem, don’t arrest the problem. When you do that you build a stronger community and a better Tennessee.”

“It is imperative that we remember the justice that Jesus fought for. We thought we had found justice when it came to protections for those with pre-existing conditions, but we found there is a new pharaoh who does not understand that people are hurting. We recognize that this life can be difficult. We also recognize that we have a number of brothers and sisters who deal with mental health issues,” said Minister Kelli X of The Village Church. “We might not be able to see it, but they are dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, and addiction. When you remove pre-existing condition protections, you remove their health care and ability to seek help and get medication. We stand with a God who knows this is a moral issue and we must stand together and not allow this administration to remove what is just and right.”

“The church and Christians alike must raise their voice in opposition to help ensure that those with pre-existing conditions can continue to be covered. I gladly sign this letter opposing Attorney General Slatery on this issue,” said Pastor Aaron Marble of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church.

“2.7 million beings could automatically lose health coverage with this lawsuit. There’s one person, in particular, I would like to touch on: my dad. At 44, he suffered a massive stroke paralyzing the right side of his body. Over the last 10 years, he has been diagnosed with dementia, lost his vision, and is currently on hospice. As his power of attorney, I speak from first-hand experience to say that I am grateful that insurance companies have been forced to still give him some coverage,” said Brittney Campagna, a local small business owner. “He has lost the ability to walk, sit, talk, feed himself, and most importantly hold my hand. When his insurance did not cover his medical expenses, I had to. This does not just affect sick individuals, it affects families as well."

“I’m in a position I never thought I would be in. At my 20-week pregnancy check-in, I found out that my child’s heart wasn’t the right size. Our conversations at home were: ‘How much would this cost for our family? Do we not do Christmas?’ But every breath she breathes is a miracle,” said Kathleen Jones, mother to a beautiful daughter born with a hole in her heart. “She didn’t leave the house for eight months, only to go back and forth to the hospital. There’s no way we could afford this without insurance. I’m here to speak on behalf of those parents who are in the hospital and can’t leave because they are with their baby. Please take Tennessee off this list. Help protect our citizens.

Published July 18, 2018

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