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TennCare
Posted by: Dale Franks on Monday, December 06, 2004

Remember HillaryCare? In those far off days of 1994, even though the Democrats failed to get it pushed through Congress, they did manage to get it passed into law as a state program in Tennessee. Tennesseeans have been paying for it ever since, as the editors of the Wall Street Journal recount.
The TennCare concept was for the state to operate like an HMO, providing health insurance to those who needed it and paying the premiums for those who couldn't afford it. The idea was even sold as a cost savings because it would provide "managed care" (volume discounts, preventative care, etc.). TennCare opened enrollment to hundreds of thousands of people who did not qualify for Medicaid, even to some six-figure earners. Costs quickly exploded, and despite attempts to tighten eligibility rules the program still covers 1.3 million of the state's 5.8 million people.

The skyrocketing costs led previous Governor Don Sundquist, the Republican who had inherited the program, to try to impose a state income tax. His efforts failed, fortunately, but in 2002 Mr. Bredesen was elected promising to cut TennCare's costs.

That, too, has been impossible. Left-wing legal activists have sued the state with impunity to underwrite the cost of nearly unlimited care. A Nashville non-profit called the Tennessee Justice Center has hamstrung reforms for years by suing to enforce a series of consent decrees, some of which predate TennCare.
So, TennCare now consumes 1/3 of the state budget. Three of the 11 managed care programs that participated in the program are now bankrupt, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield has effectively withdrawn.

None of this is any surprise, of course, except maybe the fact that it managed to get into this kind of bad shape after only a decade. There may be a lot of good health care reforms floating about out there, but turning it into a government entitlement isn't one of them.
 
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I find the thought that it covers a quarter of the state's population, yet it costs a third of the budget scariest of all.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
Is that the real conclusion from the failure of TennCare? Or is the the real conclusion that cost control in the medical system can't be achieved by the states?

What's being missed here is that TennCare achieved it's objectives. For example, it dramatically reduced the number of expensive emergency room visits in favor of theoretically more efficient principle provider visits.

And before everybody starts waling on me for advocating government subsidized medicine, we already have government subsidized medicine. Providers receive subsidies in the form of licenses, patents, the physician monopoly on prescribing medicine, and other market restrictions. The consumer receives subsidies in the form of supervision of what pharmaceuticals make it onto the market (the FDA), Medicare, Medicaid, the VA health care system (larger than British Public Health), and subsidized health plans for government workers. So which side of the equation to you want to remove the subsidies on? Is it politically possible?
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
Okay, wait, wait, wait. What does this mean?

"TennCare opened enrollment to hundreds of thousands of people who did not qualify for Medicaid, even to some six-figure earners."

Excuse me? Does anyone find something wrong with this?

So, the state of Tennesse passes TennCare and allows some six-figure earners to qualify for their program?!? And then the republican governor, instead of fixing this obvious boo-boo, decides he should impose a state income tax? And that doesn't work...and so now this thing is 1/3 of the state budget and health care programs are going bankrupt and this is Hillary's fault?!?

So when did Tennesse become blameless for enacting stupid programs?

My head hurts.





 
Written By: Becky
URL: http://www.politicaladdict.com
Okay, wait, wait, wait. What does this mean?

"TennCare opened enrollment to hundreds of thousands of people who did not qualify for Medicaid, even to some six-figure earners."

Excuse me? Does anyone find something wrong with this?

So, the state of Tennesse passes TennCare and allows some six-figure earners to qualify for their program?!? And then the republican governor, instead of fixing this obvious boo-boo, decides he should impose a state income tax? And that doesn`t work...and so now this thing is 1/3 of the state budget and health care programs are going bankrupt and this is Hillary`s fault?!?

So when did Tennesse become blameless for enacting stupid programs?

My head hurts.





Are you attempting to contend that the "rich folk" are the reason its going bankrupt, or, is it perhaps the nature of the system, ala "Hillary Care" as it has been tried in every welfare state in Europe? Checked on Oregon`s state system lately?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: Unknown
Excuse me!!! TennCare is not a stupid program when it has saved numerous lives and provided a savings to emergency rooms throughout the state. Evidently, some of you are misinformed and don’t know what you are talking about.

Some of the problems involved lawyers and lawsuits against the program which would not allow the Governor to implement changes and admendments as needed that would have prevented problems, admended the program, and allowed TennCare to continue with possible co-pays, volunteers to work with the program, etc.

TennCare worked for years and could have continued to work if it wasn’t for the numerous lawsuits against reform. I, for one, am grateful for TennCare saving my life and many of my relatives and friends. Excuse me—this does not make it a stupid program!!!!
 
Written By: E
URL: http://

 
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