Rural TN Hospital Closures Follow Refusal to Expand Medicaid

Released at: May 01, 2018
Contact: Sarah Beth Larson

Memphis Activists Speak Against Rural TN Hospital Closures

Memphis, TN, February 12, 2018– Indivisible Memphis, The Tennessee Justice Project and LeBonheur Pediatric Chaplain David Weatherspoon will join with other healthcare advocates on Monday, Feb. 15 to call attention to the wave of rural hospital closings that has swept Tennessee in recent years.

Since 2010, ten hospitals in rural Tennessee counties have closed their doors. This is the highest per capita rate of rural hospital closings in the country, placing Tennessee second behind only Texas.


The rash of closings was sped by the state’s 2015 decision to turn down $1.4 billion annually in expanded federal Medicaid funding. Among the state legislators who voted against Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s deal to secure the Medicaid expansion was Weatherspoon’s prospective Republican opponent in the November election for District 31 State Senate, incumbent Sen. Brian Kelsey. This move also blocked access to federally-funded health insurance to an estimated 280,000 Tennesseans.


Joining members of Indivisible Memphis at the event will be David Weatherspoon, candidate for District 31 State Senate, Racquel Collins, Assistant Dean at St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and candidate for Shelby County Commission District 1, and Katrina Robinson, founder and owner of The Healthcare Institute in Memphis, candidate for State Senate District 33.

“Accepting the $1.4 billion annually in our own taxpayer money to insure 280,000 Tennesseans should have been an easy choice,” Weatherspoon said. The decision not to expand Medicaid, blocking access to federally-funded health insurance to an 280,000 Tennesseans, is both fiscally and morally bankrupt.”

The event will take place at 12:30 PM Feb. 15 at Regional One Health, 877 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis TN, 38103. It will include remarks from the three candidates, as well as representations of those who have lost access to healthcare because of the Medicaid funding rejection. For more information, visit and

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  • Sid Johnson
    published this page in Media 2018-05-01 14:34:56 -0500