Skip to main content

In the aftermath of the 2012 elections, Republicans in Tennessee enjoy supermajority control of the General Assembly (26R & 7D in Senate; 69R, 29D, & 1I in House) and also hold the governorship. Time for Team Red to Take Back Our Country, which in 2013 still means undermining the Affordable Care Act. So, naturally a bill has been introduced by Rep. Jeremy Duram, that would block the expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee-- one of the major mechanisms by which the ACA extends the number of those with access to heathcare. Should be a cinch to pass in the increasingly reactionary home of Al Gore.

But turns out blocking this provision is just not popular among Tennesseans. Even though neither Obama not Obamacare enjoy much popularity in the state, even Republican voters are apparently reluctant to forgo the sweet sweet milk flowing from the government medicaid teat. Not too hard to see why, considering that with over 1.2 million enrollees as of Dec 2012, Tenncare (the Tennessee medicaid program) covers about 18% of the state's 6.5 million residents already.

But no need for Republican politicians to take their constituents' opinions into account when ideology is on the line, right? 56% support for expanding Tenncare shouldn't stand in the way of partisan aspirations.

Hold on there, bucko. Turns out, it's not just people's health and well-being at stake, there's big money on the table. As Moody's recently pointed out, Tennessee is an epicenter of the corporate for-profit hospital industry. These companies stand to loose a lot if the General Assembly blocks Tenncare expansion, and they are making it known:

Craig Becker, president of the THA, noted that hospitals in the state stand to lose $5.6 billion at a time when 58, mostly rural, facilities are already losing money every year.

“I can't wrap my head around those numbers,” he said. “This is a tax on hospitals. Why should we send those tax dollars to California, New York or Vermont, or even New Jersey?”

A tax! On upstanding corpirate citizens, no less. To the benefit of --gak-- New Jersey!

Not that it would necessarily bother Republican legislators too much, but their bill could also be potentially crippling to the several not-for-profit hospitals affiliated with academic medical centers throughout the sate. These institutions are facing loss of federal funding that has traditionally supported hospitals that care disproportionately for uninsured. After all, if everyone is going to have access to health insurance, why bother reimbursing academic hospitals for taking care of the uninsured?

Too early to know how this will all play out, but there are signs that gov. Bill Haslam (a Repub of the Big Money variety) might be swayed by the economic argument to do the right thing. Not at all clear that he would veto the republican bill if it passes both houses (as seems likely), but at least he's on record against it.

Originally posted to Sunny Volanakistan on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 02:42 PM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site