Monday, March 27, 2006

Bredesen has not learned TennCare lessons

After the TennCare debacle, common sense would dictate that the State would want to avoid anything to do with massive public-funded healthcare schemes considering that the previous attempt at this nearly bankrupted the State of Tennessee. So terrible was the strain on the budget that the Governor, who first campaigned on the notion that TennCare needed to be "reformed," and then presided over its collapse, said that there was nothing more that he could do. I think he attempted to shift the collective blame to everyone else but himself for the public anger over how the collapse of TennCare was handled, but I also think he was telling the truth (in a round-about way): The system was a failure and a flop, and because the choice came down to TennCare or fiscal insolvency, TennCare had to go.

People had come to depend on TennCare, especially for prescription medicine, and whether we think it was right or wrong to depend on it is irrelivant to the reality that the State of Tennessee gave a lot of people the false hope and phony trust that this system could be relied upon. People have died as a result of this incompetence and false hope. After such a devastating experience, you would think Jersey Phil and the boys would have learned a valuable lesson-but apparently they have not.

They want the State to get back into the mass health care business, and Bredesen will address the General Assembly tonight at 6pm CST about a health care proposal he has apparently come up with. I don't know if he will roll this under the auspices of TennCare or if this will be some totally new and distinct program, but according to The Tennessean the proposal will be modeled after a similar program in New York.

Using New York as a model for anything cannot be constitutionally sound. Why? New York's State Constitution is dramatically different, and New York has an income tax. That being the case, I'd be willing to bet the ranch Bredesen will try to introduce an income tax if he is re-elected. He'll wait until then to avoid the wrath of voters. His effort will fail, but not before yet another health care debacle is created for the rest of us to deal with after Bredesen is gone.


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