KNOXVILLE, TN (June 2019) The Knox County Commission will be voting on decreasing funding to indigent health-care, from a budget that has a surplus, in a special call meeting 4 pm, Thursday, June 6, at the City-County Building.
Participants under the indigent care program are mostly single adults 64 and younger, with a household income of less than $500 a month – well below the poverty line.
Of the 929 county residents serviced through the program, Knox County reports that of those, 70% are white, 27% are black and 1% percent are “other” races.
While race/skin-color is not a factor, it’s the Knoxville Chapter of NAACP that is openly opposing the cuts and requesting a show of community support at the meeting.
Rev. John Butler, President and Cynthia Finch, Health Care Committee Chairman issued the following statement of opposition on behalf of the Knoxville Branch of the NAACP.
“Knox County has provided funding for indigent care (medical primary care and pharmacy) in the Knox County community for over 30 years. This is a time where health care for the most vulnerable population, the poor and underserved are greatly needed. Access to health care, prescription drugs, and health care services is vital to the overall health of the Knoxville community. The lack of health care services to this population will continue to adversely impact the community and farther widen the disparity gap for those in need.
Therefore, Knox County Mayor, Glenn Jacobs’, proposed budget for 2019-2020 to cut the indigent program by 30 percent, is unacceptable. This represents a cut of the current Knox County budget indigent care level of $4,316,500 to $2,995,000. The Health Department initially requested a $200,000 increase for next year’s budget. It is with this and other reasons; the Knoxville Branch of the NAACP opposes this proposed budget cut.
The Knoxville Branch of the NAACP strongly objects to this proposed budget cut and stands ready with the community, volunteers, health care professionals, providers and others to openly oppose this action.
It is our belief that the people’s government has a responsibility to ensure that all citizens have access to quality health care. And we, the Knoxville Branch of the NAACP, demand that our Mayor continue to support the efforts of all those in the community that provides health care services to the poor and underserved in our community.