Pastors in Tennessee Call for Medicaid Expansion

Andy Spears
2 min readJun 25, 2021

Following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a group of Tennessee pastors affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition called on Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to accept the Biden Administration’s incentives and expand the state’s Medicaid program as envisioned in the ACA.

Tennessee is among a handful of states that have yet to accept Medicaid expansion dollars.

“Every Tennessean deserves access to affordable healthcare, no matter the color of their skin or where they live in the state, which is why today I celebrate that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act,” said Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, Pastor Emeritus of New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville. “Because of the ACA Tennesseans can’t be turned away from health insurance for having pre-existing conditions, and kids can stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 25, insuring thousands of Tennesseans who otherwise would struggle to get affordable care. The Affordable Care Act is once again confirmed as the law of the land, so with the additional millions of dollars provided by the Biden administration for the remaining twelve states who haven’t expanded Medicaid, I call on Governor Lee and the entire Tennessee General Assembly to seize this opportunity to expand Medicaid today to give health insurance to the more than 300,000 Tennesseans who still fall in the gap.”

“Every year Tennessee turns away over $1.3 Billion of our own tax dollars that we have already sent to Washington, and by choice, leave the most vulnerable among us without health insurance. With the additional $900 million offered from the Biden administration, we must act now,” said Rev. Matt Steinhauer, Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Lebanon, TN. “As followers of Jesus we are called to act on behalf of the needs of ‘the least of these’ and in a free-market healthcare system, anyone without health insurance falls into that category. It is through our government, where we all pitch in together, that we can ensure health care is available for all, not a privilege for just the wealthy and those fortunate enough to have a job where health insurance is provided. In our Christian tradition the greatest commandment is to ‘love God,’ and the second is to ‘love our neighbor,’ I can think of no other political action that would demonstrate our obedience to Christ’s command than to take advantage of this opportunity now.”

It is estimated that at least 300,000 Tennesseans would gain coverage if the state accepted the Medicaid expansion funding from the federal government.

Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .