An unfortunate loss

An unfortunate loss: I live in a red state, but in a blue county. I voted for Bush but I support my U.S. Representative, a Democrat, and I believe our governor, the Democrat Phil Bredesen, is one of the most brilliant politicians and business leaders I have ever witnessed (I don’t know him personally, but have been a fan for a long time…Hey, he’s the guy who helped get the Titans to Nashville.)

Anyway, if Phil Bredesen can’t save TennCare, our state’s decade-old alternative to Medicare, then no one can. Bredesen is an incredibly successful healthcare business entrepreneur whose political savvy has been honed over two amazing terms as mayor of Nashville and what conservatives and liberals agree has been a successful first term as governor. (He balanced a budget his Republican predecessor said was impossible to balance — without imposing an income tax.)

Tenncare, a plan that replaced Medicare with a program that enables “uninsurable Tennesseans” to access coverage was out-of-control from a budget standpoint before Bredesen was elected. He (and his team) conceived and negotiated a solution that (and I don’t follow this closely) appears to a layperson like me a logical, common sense approach that garnered enthusiastic bipartisan support.

Then “advocates” for the status quo started suing the governor. This is where the whole issues starts to break down for me. I have never quite understood why “advocates” of TennCare would follow a course guaranteed to knock 400,000 Tennesseans off of health care coverage. But, apparently they have…and they won’t back off. And so, Bredesen just announced that TennCare will soon be no more.

Update: Glenn Reynolds calls Tenncare a “testbed for HillaryCare.” I’ll have to disagree with that assessment as I was a foot soldier in the fight against HillaryCare and recall vividly that its foundational flaw was a provision that “mandated” employers to provide insurance for employees (remember the famous, “I’m not responsible for every undercapitalized business out there” remark). Tenncare has no such mandate or it would have never been enacted.

  • Hudge

    Sad indeed, to see us revert to Medicaid, which was deemed too expensive to maintain and that was how the TennCare concept came to be. I have a friend who’s a successful self-employed businessman who has had some unusually bad health problems the past few years and his only possible choice of health care coverage was TennCare. Not sure what his situation will be now.

  • lcreekmo

    Odds are he won’t have a choice of any health insurance. That is the sad part about all this. Bredesen’s plan would have maintained some level of health ins. coverage for everyone on TennCare, but reduced the state’s liability. But the folks filing the lawsuits said that was not good enough, so now lots of folks will have no health insurance. It is a real shame.