Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Phil's Health Care Concern Likely Real

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen is concerned about federal attempts to push the cost of health care further on to the States as part of the Obama Administration's health care or "health insurance reform" initiative.

"There's probably 50 different opinions about how health-care reform ought to work," Bredesen said in an interview for The Tennessean Monday.
"The main interest of the governors is just not picking up the tab for health-care reform."

When the history of Phil Bredesen's tenure as Governor is written, it may be said of him that he became a bit too much like his hated predecessor Don Sundquist, at least in the sense that he ended his first term as one of the most popular Governors in Tennessee history. Bredesen may conclude his second term as a far less popular man, just as did Sundquist. While the Governor has not done anything nearly as politically heinous as did Sundquist (who unsuccessfully pushed for a highly unpopular State income tax), his legacy is marred in the eyes of some by how he handled the dismantling of the TennCare debacle. As opponents warned when TennCare was established in the mid-90's, the most seriously ill would be the ones to suffer when the State decided that it could no longer pay the bill for a system designed to make sure that as many Tennesseans were insured as possible. The task fell to Phil Bredesen to carry out the inevitable dismantling of the TennCare health apparatus as it had been previously understood.

The plug was literally pulled for many of the State's sickest and poorest patients, with a few people even being pulled off of life support. The political consequences of these actions did not make themselves apparent until after Bredesen was re-elected in one of the biggest landslides in Volunteer State electoral history, but Bredesen is keenly aware that TennCare may indeed sully his legacy in a State rich with colorful political history. Because of his experience as a former health care executive, as well as having endured the political storms of TennCare, Phil Bredesen is very aware of the financial difficulties associated with the federal government pushing the cost of its reform package to the States, and he wants nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Governor Bredesen is one of the few Democrats willing to discuss the idea that the federal health proposal is flawed and may not work for the States or the people, and he knows from experience.

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