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Thank you, Nashville, for saying ‘No’

Recently, we have seen the wisdom of Tennessee’s decision not to participate in the state- run exchange program for Obamacare, as well as the Medicaid expansion.   
Only 37 states offered to consider establishing an exchange with over $2 billion in funding needed to create them. Today, there are14 (out of the original 17) state-based Marketplaces in operation. Thirty states have adopted the Medicaid expansion.   
On May 1, the Seattle Times reported, “Daniel Levinson, inspector general for HHS, cautioned that ‘some states were struggling with their exchange budgets and illegally allocating federal dollars to pay for operational costs.’”
The Washington Post reported, “Half the remaining state exchanges face serious financial problems as they wrestle with ‘surging costs, especially for the balky technology and expensive customer call centers and tepid enrollment numbers.’”  
The Orange County Register reported Covered California, which received $1.1 billion for startup, has an $80 million deficit and its executive director has “questions about its long-term sustainability.”   
The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that after receiving $204.3 million in federal grants to startup the Hawaiian exchange, the “Connector,” an additional $5.4 million more has been requested from the state. Only $2 million was approved.  Therefore, current plans call for a possible Sept. 30 shutdown, which could cost state taxpayers $30 million to transition to healthcare.gov. 
This may also require abolishing an existing state healthcare system people like, and it would place their $1 billion in federal Medicaid funding in jeopardy.   
Sold as a way to add greater efficiency and discipline to the health-care market, a case could be made the exact opposite is occurring.
People are seeing chaos, waste, bloat, lawsuits and needless bureaucracy. Higher costs are masked by subsidies, high deductibles, creative accounting and an unlimited bucket of money from which the government can draw.    
Meanwhile, this hits us directly in our family budget. It has destroyed a health-care system that was working well for over 80-90 percent of the population, replacing it with one that has forced us to pay for unwanted or unneeded coverages. For many, the deductible is so high, it’s not worth it.  
For a few, it provides limited coverage, but the CBO estimates 30 million people will be without coverage in 10 years, even after spending well over $1 trillion. Thirty million was the original number not covered that was used to justify passing Obamacare. We are going nowhere, and leaving havoc in our wake. 
So, thank you, Nashville, for keeping us as far away from this mess as you have. Let’s not be tricked into starting an Obamacare state exchange or the federal Medicaid expansion. It will put us on a path toward skyrocketing costs. 
The money and “strings” the feds offer are not worth it. They have the power and ability to give us the money, control how we spend it, and take it back at any time, whether it hurts the state or not. Let’s not go there.
Let’s address health care issues within our state using common sense; working through the faith community, medical community, private sector, and state and local government to create quality, affordable health care available to all Tennesseans. 
We can do it if allowed by the federal government.