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DAY THIRTY-SIX: Call for a Special TennCare Legislative Session.

Ideas for stopping TennCare destruction from Tim Chavez Editorial in Sunday’s Tennessean.

(NASHVILLE, July 25, 2005) Political pressure on the governor starts with you. Tim Chavez, columnist for the Tennessean provided these suggestions for action to change the governor’s direction.

  • Call your state representative and senator. Ask them to write the governor and request that TennCare be added to the agenda of a special legislative session on ethics in the fall. Turner says that's a "good idea" and it's something he would not have "a bit of a problem" supporting. The goal is to build political pressure on the governor, and TennCare in a special session is the last thing he wants. But lawmakers finally need to vet and amend his proposals and push their own. If your lawmakers say it's too late, then you'll need to vote for different lawmakers in 2006 or 2008.
  • Joining the protest at the governor's office. Numbers cannot be ignored. Your presence and those of family and friends — for a few hours — will draw needed notice. Ask your pastor to designate a day for believers to join the protest. If he or she balks, find a new church.
  • A special session that includes TennCare would allow for fair consideration of cost-saving proposals Bredesen never gave a chance:

    A retro drug review program would save up to $500 million annually by stopping prescription abuse.
  • A tax on employers with high numbers of workers on TennCare would send a message about businesses paying their fair share and wages. In a TennCare meeting Tuesday in Knoxville, Sen. Bill Burchett said that a large percentage of Wal-Mart's workforce in Tennessee is on TennCare, reported WATE-TV., Channel 6 in Knoxville. Widely cited figures put its TennCare numbers at about 10,000 workers. WATE said Wal-Mart disputes those numbers.

    But if Wal-Mart were charged $1,000 for each employee on TennCare, that alone would raise $10 million annually. Throw in large private and public employers, and there's big-time savings. Turner says there are even state contractors with workers on TennCare.
  • Co-payments of $3 on each prescription for TennCare enrollees, no matter their income, should be examined. Some enrollees have double-digit prescriptions each month. So a $3 co-pay for every prescription can produce substantial revenue over the year. There are 1.1 million enrollees. A co-payment would need Sen. Bill First's help to get federal rules waived, and it's time Bredesen asked for his involvement.

 

MCIL Journal Index 2005

Follow the TennCare Sit-in

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