Maryville man divorcing wife over health care among demonstrator

Maryville man divorcing wife over health care among demonstrators pushing for Medicaid expansion

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Governor Bill Haslam took to the early voting polls Friday in downtown Knoxville. While trying to cast his ballot, protestors came with signs demanding Medicaid expansion - something the governor chose not to do last year. 

Governor Bill Haslam's trip to the city-county building in downtown Knoxville to vote early soon turned into something else. A group of people with signs reading things such as "Medicaid expansion now" stood in front of the voting booth area hoping to get the governor's attention.

Some have been trying to get answers for some time. 

"Letter #58 now, I think, basically saying please expand medicaid, asking for a chance to speak with him, asking for a chance to sit down with him for 15 to 20 minutes and let him know what his decision has made for my family," said Larry Drain of Maryville.  

Last year Governor Haslam did not accept $1.4 billion in federal funds to expand the program for about 140,000 uninsured Tennesseans. He says he's working on a program that will best fit the state. 

"We need to have something that does two or three things. We have to have something that in the long term provides great outcomes for patients, covers more people, and that the state can afford to pay," said Gov. Bill Haslam. 

For those like Larry Drain who made national headlines when he divorced his wife so that she could keep her health insurance, he's hoping there will be a solution soon.  

"What I do every day is write him and say 'hey, you're my governor.' It's time for you to be my governor. We're ready for you to be my governor. When are you going to be my governor?," said Drain.

Governor Haslam has had several discussions with the federal government about expanding Medicaid, but so far those efforts haven't resulted in anything.

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