Skip to comments.Bredesen: Medicaid reflects socialism
Posted on 02/09/2005 7:08:50 AM PST by Brian Mosely
Gov. Phil Bredesen said Tuesday the nations Medicaid program shares more with socialism than practicality and needs fundamental reform.
"The way in which Medicaid pays for services has more in common with a socialist economy than the commonsense economic and business principles that do such a good job allocating resources efficiently in other parts of our American life," the governor said.
His remarks came at a conference in Raleigh, N.C., of policymakers studying health care issues. The governor has proposed substantial cuts in benefits and enrollees in TennCare, the states expanded Medicaid program for the poor and uninsured. Te nnCare now covers some 1.3 million people at a combined state and federal cost of $8.7 billion. The governor wants to drop 323,000 non-Medicaid eligible people from the program and save $575 million in state dollars next year.
Attending Tuesdays conference in Raleigh was Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a Washington-based advocacy group which has criticized Mr. Bredesens approach to curbing TennCare costs.
Mr. Pollack said he did a "double take" when he heard Gov. Bredesen compare Medicaid to socialism.
"I dont know what he was smoking before he gave his speech. But I think he had a pretty high dosage of whatever it was," he said. "Its hard to give a straight-faced comment about it."
The nations health care sys- tem is "overwhelmingly a private health care system," Mr. Pollack said. "What we do is provide a safety net for people who cant get coverage in the private sector."
Under Gov. Bredesen, that "safety net is becoming much more hole than webbing," Mr. Pollack said. "To talk about it as a socialistic health care system, I think someone should inform him the Cold War is over."
The governor, locked in an increasingly bitter legal and political struggle to overhaul TennCare, said changes to the current federal system should have three guiding principles: "Everybody pays something; pay first for what is most important; pay for what works."
"Our hearts are there," Gov. Bredesen said. "What I want to say today is our heads need to get there, too."
However, Mr. Pollack said when he heard the governor speak, he didnt recognize anything the governor was doing in Tennessee.
"He didnt say anything about cutting 323,000 people from the program," he said.
President Bush, meanwhile, is moving forward with plans to curb Medicaid spending at the national level. His new budget recommends cutting federal spending in Medicaid by $45 billion over the next 10 years.
In his remarks Gov. Bredesen said that while Tennessee has a "particularly acute problem because of the scope of our program, we are just the leading edge of what is happening across the nation."
He said one study estimates that 22 states can expect to allocate more than half of all new tax revenue in the next five years to Medicaid.
"Medicaid is a clear and present danger to the budgets and priorities of the states," he said.
About a half-dozen protesters gathered outside the North Carolina State University conference center where the event was held to oppose Bredesens appearance, the Associated Press reported.
The AP quoted protesters saying the governors proposal to cut TennCare would eliminate coverage for 67,000 adults with serious medical conditions who cannot get insurance any other way.
Gov. Bredesen said charging patients even a token fee for each visit to a doctor would add "economic tension" and be a start toward reform.
"This is not about being hardhearted," he said. "Its a basic truth (that) people value the things they pay for and dont value what is free."
He also recommended prioritizing medical care. For example, he said, the government should pay for prenatal care and necessary surgery before covering the costs of antihistamines and heartburn medication. Tennessee spends more than $200 million a year on those two categories of drugs alone, he said.
He also said that states should reject paying for some medicines that havent been proven to be effective.
Staff writer Andy Sher contributed to this report.
E-mail Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org
Holy sh** -- someone actually gets it...amazing!!!
If he runs, he won't win the nomination.
MEDICAID IS SOCIALISM!......
BOY HOWDY! You got that right! My property taxes doubled so he could give a $400 million stadium to Bud Adams. And when Bredesen was in private business, it's my understanding that his investors lost their shirts while he ended up with a $100 million personal fortune.
Local voters, however, were so football mad, they approved the deal.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against football in general or the Titans in particular. I just fail to agree that my tax dollars should be spent to enrich private business.
Well, this morning Uncle John Ford blamed "white media" for his various troubles, so we can only imagine how he'd describe 'bloggers' who pull the wraps off his hustle. It sounds like you're actually from Nashville with your background on Bredesen. Do you know if my understanding of his business deals - and investor losses - when he had some kind of health care outfit are accurate?
Living in West Tennessee, you probably have even more low-down on the Fords than most.
and don't forget the water bills.
but....Purcell is worse.
If Purcell doesn't circumvent and get annointed, Buck Dozier may be the next mayor.....sympathetic to guys like me unlike Purcell and all the greenie weenie aparatchiks he's installed.
Tennessee is being financially destroyed by TennCare. Bredesen realizes this and hopes to slim it down just enough to keep the ship from sinking before he stands for reelection. He "threatened" to end the program altogether a few weeks back but was only bluffing. I haven't heard him utter one syllable about the burden on Tennessee taxpayers; it's all crocodile tears for those who will lose TennCare benefits and for the lack of spending that can be done for schools, etc. if TennCare isn't moderately rolled back. Bredesen should know whereof he speaks when he mentions "socialism."
What's even more amazing is that he's a DEMOCRAT. I usually refer to members of that vile and benighted party as DemonRats. Bredesen's doig a light years better job than his predecessor, a RINO who wanted to impose a state income tax, did. I voted for that RINO twice and rued the day.
Why do you think I dubbed him Oily Phil? As in snake oil salesman.
I don't like snakes, but I don't think you should talk about them that way.
Oil Phil can call for all the cuts, abolishment of Tenncare he wants...he KNOWS the federal judges and the advocates for the users of Tenncare will STOP any such action. Oily Phil gets credit for trying..without having to produce a result.
I saw a map of Tennessee with the percentages of people per county on Tenncare. It was astounding. Till they weed out adults and children who have access to insurance elsewhere I don't see the situation improving. I don't want to sound heartless for suggesting they cut children off Tenncare, but I KNOW lots of parents who can get insurance for their kids elsewhere, but choose not to.