Gov. Phil Bredesen wants to use $100 million from the TennCare account to fund the first three years of his CoverTN program. This will only be enough if Tennessee Justice Center litigation is kept in check and enrollment doesn’t explode.

Of course, Democrats have contingency plans: State Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz said the state could:

  1. Raise the cigarette tax (which as everyone knows is a tax on the poor — how compassionate!)
  2. Adjust budget priorities (has Democrats ever shut down one social program to fund another? I don’t think so.)
  3. Shut down the CoverTN program (a little like putting the genie back in the bottle, isn’t it? Even if Bredesen retires and can take the political failure, Democrats won’t stand for getting a black eye over this one.)

Jim Bryson (R), state Senator and likely gubernatorial candidate this fall, is a vocal critic:

“The reality is that this is the administration’s plan, and they ought to have a way to fund the plan,” said Bryson, R-Franklin. “And they don’t, other than enacting a tax.”

“I generally don’t like increasing any taxes,” he said.

Other lawmakers wondered whether the plan would better be tweaked to include more coverage for catastrophic events, and whether the working poor would be willing to pay even a $50 monthly premium.

Exactly. But what do the Dems think?

Because the Cover Tennessee plan would be run by the state, it would be guaranteed to avoid the cost overruns experienced by TennCare, Goetz said.

Did you catch that? Here it is again:

Because the Cover Tennessee plan would be run by the state, it would be guaranteed to avoid the cost overruns…

The single most disingenuous statement ever uttered by a politician. But wait, there’s more!

The Tennessee Health Care Campaign organized a press conference in which desperately ill citizens who had been thrown off of the TennCare rolls described their plight, just a few of the 67,000 citizens with pre-existing conditions that are no longer covered because of Bredesen’s actions, and who will not be covered under Bredesen’s new plan. The administration’s response?

“We don’t believe they gave a full accounting of their situation,” said Goetz.

Goetz said he couldn’t elaborate on which aspects are allegedly incomplete without obtaining a signed release from the former TennCare enrollees.

Typical smear tactic. Trust the politicians, it’s the sick people that are lying!

Of course, Bredesen’s plan will cover 10,000 “high risk” individuals, all of 1 in 7. I wonder who decides which will be among the privileged few?

More at The Bryson for Governor Blog.

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