There are too many long lines. Lines to get your driver's license and lines to sign up for food stamps. These are just two examples. In many cases, services have just been cut and the services no longer exist. Many folks are not able to receive essential mental health services that the state use to provide. These services were provided by people. When the employees are cut, the services go away.
TennCare serves over 1.2 million Tennesseans. About 750,000 are children, about 100,000 are disabled adults, about 70,000 are low-income elderly folks, and about 300,000 are single poor parents. In general, the quality of care is as good ad it is in the private sector and it does it for less that you and I pay in the private sector. Readers need to understand the facts before they expose their prejudices. Go to http://www.tn.gov/tenncare/ for the facts.
Governor Bredesen continues to spin the truth. TennCare's cost were less than 30ç per state tax dollar at the times of the cuts. They never ever approached 47 cents per state tax dollar. It would help if Governor Bredesen and his staff would deal with the facts.
Quote from the article: "• TennCare: To control costs, battled advocates for the poor to cut some 170,000 adults from the rolls, saving hundreds of millions of dollars. Health and social service spending dropped from 47 cents per state tax dollar in fiscal 2004 to 27 cents today."
A report conducted by the Comptroller of Tennessee, http://www.thcc2.org/PDFs/bearsburden.pdf , reported that what Governor Bredesen really did was shift health care costs somewhere else. He did nothing to curve health care costs. Hospitals and families ate most of these cuts. It also shows that the governor gave up millions of federal matching dollars instead of providing care to poor working families.
The program that the Governor created, CoverTN (state only funds), to replace the federal funds was projected to cover over 100,000 people. Today, the state is spending millions of state dollars and covering less than 20,000 people. This program has taught us many lessons. One of which is that this program has been a flop.
We forget that the Governor is not an expert of health policy. Before he became governor, he was an expert on making money from the health care system. He became a multi-millionaire. He knew how to make money from the system, not cover low-income working people. He is not an expert on how to create health policy that will work for the working poor, the largest group of people who are uninsured. These are the people whom he cut off.
Emily Bregel did a very good report. The report is sobering. It highlights the fact that Americans have serious health problems and their ability to get, maintain, and keep health insurance has become extremely challenging. A recent study by Bill Fox at the UT School of Economics found that the number one reason why people are uninsured is that they cannot afford coverage.
One of the major objectives to reform is to bend the curve and slow down the growth of health care inflation which is 4 times that of our wages. It does not make any sense and it defies our understanding why the U.S. spends 2 times as much on health care and our outcomes are some of the worse compared to other developed countries. Something is very wrong with our health care system.
I am glad that we are trying to reform our system. At this time and for the people in Chattanooga, doing nothing is not the answer
Americans want security and want a fair system. Our current system was not providing this. No health care is free. Somebody somewhere is paying for your health care if you cannot afford it. In addition, health care in this country is too expensive. Our current system was not working very well for most Americans. It needed to be changed. Let's give it a chance. We want to know that if we do the right thing, pay our taxes, work everyday, then the insurance industry should not be able to deny you or me care. We all want security and we want to be treated fairly.
I think that Senator Alexander thinks that if I say enough times that health reform will cost TN over 1.5 billion dollars over 10 years that it is true. However, the facts do not bear this out. It would be helpful if Alexander would stop using scare tactics and stay with the truth.