There are voices in the legislature who counsel caution about expanding Tenn Care. It is not they say a “financially responsible move.” They say the federal government cannot be trusted to fulfill its commitments and that we should turn down 2.7 million dollars a day. What they neglect to tell you is without this federal government that “can not be trusted” there would be no Tennessee as we know it. For every dollar of Tennessee taxes that go into the budget $1.27 of federal funds goes to Tennessee. We already trust the federal government. We have had to and they have kept their commitments. “Turn down the federal money” is simply another way of saying “Obama is president.”
The “financially responsible folks” are wrong on many points:
- It is not financially responsible to pursue a policy that will result in the premature deaths and debilitating illnesses of a sizeable portion of its population. And when who lives and who dies is based purely on socio-economic status it is far more than irresponsible.
- It is not financially responsible to pursue a policy that causes hospitals in small and rural counties to close. Living in the country or small town should not define your access to quality health care.
- It is not financially responsible to pursue a policy that ignores the financial benefits to our economy of 2.7 million dollars of federal money a day.
- It is not financially responsible to make the criteria of public policy its ideological purity with one group of legislators and ignore the well fare of the people of Tennessee.
- It is not financially responsible to ignore the testimony of states around us that show that Medicaid expansion has worked because the facts get in the way of ideology.
- And finally it is not financially responsible to ignore the above points and refuse to fight for access for health care for poor people. It is political opportunism. It is time for the phrase Tennessee for all Tennesseans not to have an asterisk. *see income guidelines.
On November 10 Linda and I will be hosting a rally for Tenn Care expansion at Legislative Plaza in Nashville at 11 am. You are invited. I hope we will see you there. Please share this with other people. It is time for the Governor to “Talk with the people.” Long since time.