A $735 million cost to Tennessee

A $735 million cost to Tennessee

October 18th, 2009 in Opinion Free Press

You've heard about the prospective "trillion-dollar-plus" cost of ObamaCare to all Americans.

But have you heard what the cost might be to Tennessee?

Sen. Bob Corker spoke on the U.S. Senate floor a few days ago to express his concerns about the huge cost that some of the ObamaCare bills threaten to impose upon Tennessee through unfunded mandates and taking money from Medicare.

Sen. Corker, a Republican, said he had received a letter from Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, containing projections "that Tennessee could face $735 million in new Medicaid costs if the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill is enacted."

Sen. Corker commented:

"There's been a tremendous decrease in revenues for state governments, and yet, per the mark that is before the Finance Committee today, they are pushing off on the citizens of our state a $735 million unfunded liability.

"Now, that doesn't sound like a lot of money here in Washington, but I can assure you it's a lot of money for the state of Tennessee, and as you can imagine, as the years go out, that number increases tremendously.

"It's my belief that there are states across the country that are going to be coming to us asking why we're pushing off an issue to the states. I think that's tremendously irresponsible, and I think we need to ensure that does not occur."

Gov. Bredesen said the health care "reform" could cost Tennessee an estimated $735 million over a five-and-a-half-year period. But it could be worse, he said, noting that two unsettled issues could add up to $3 billion over time.

Gov. Bredesen said, "It's devilishly hard to put numbers on it. A major change in the discussion occurred (on a recent) Friday. So we're all chasing a moving target a little bit.

"Basically, our best guess right now is that over the five-and-a-half-year period, we estimate that it will cost the state $735 million, with a range of $571 million on the low end and $1.186 billion on the high end."

He explained: "We can pretty much identify $730-$735 million and a couple of big unknowns that could be added. All those numbers are over the five-and-a-half-year period and are my best estimate today. That is a working number and it will change as it goes."

With highly respected Democrat Gov. Bredesen and highly respected Republican Sen. Corker coinciding in their warnings, the people of Tennessee - and the rest of the country - had better take notice.

As bad as the evident prospects of ObamaCare are, remember that once it is imposed upon us - if Congress allows that to happen - there likely will be no financial or medical turning back.