Tennesseans gather outside state capitol to address health care concerns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In front of the state capitol, concerned Tennesseans gathered to tell their stories about the negative impacts of the health care system.

Many of them say they are demanding action on several health care issues such as pre-existing conditions, lack of treatment for drug addictions, and lack of financial security.

An overall theme throughout the forum was concern for the rural health care system. Tennessee leads the nation in the amount of rural hospital closings.

Back in September, McKenzie Regional Hospital shut down. McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland say impacts of losing a hospital can include longer waits for medical help, as well as lack of industries wanting to come to the area.

“Running a city, budgets are tight. You look at how you can get industries in,” Mayor Holland said. “If an industry sees that you don’t have a hospital, they can eliminate you from the list.”

Mayor Holland also addressed concerns of high insurance rates and her thoughts on the Affordable Care Act.

“We were led astray, because I think that we were told that health care would be affordable, and it was not affordable for so many of these people that were actually falling through the gap,” Holland said. “I think that there’s a lot that needs to be re-looked at, but I do think that there’s a solution.”

Protesters say they plan to push state lawmakers for more health care reform.

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