DAY FORTY-FOUR: Bredespin
Using Your Healthcare to Advance Phil Bredesen’s Career.
(NASHVILLE, August 2, 2005) Four days after citizens begin a now forty-four-day sit-in at the governor’s office, Bredesen addressed the Washington Press Club with his solution to Medicaid troubles in the country. Governor Bredesen ignored the fact that he was about to disqualify over 300,000 Tennesseans from their healthcare to paint himself as a Medicaid reformer.
Two weeks ago at the National Governor’s Conference in Iowa Bredesen is not noted in the report of the Health And Human Services Committee, the NGA committee that deals with Medicaid. Still, the governor returns to Tennessee to sell his untested Medicaid proposal as “reform.”
"If everything works out as I hope ..." Bredesen said at the Tennessee White House Conference on Aging, "in a couple of days I can stand before you and say we have succeeded in our efforts to keep 97,000 of the sickest and neediest enrollees on TennCare."
What Bredesen does not say is that he is the one kicking them off TennCare. The governor’s spin is similar to arguing that Squeaky Frohm saved President Ford’s life by being a bad shot. Bredesen is “saving” those 97,000 by not disqualifying them while he does not apologize for the other 290,000 citizens he is cutting. The massive exclusion follows the governor making a commitment not to cut enrollment.
Yesterday, over a quarter of a million people lost their healthcare coverage. Bredesen is out spinning himself as the savior of the elderly at the Tennessee White House Conference on Aging. He spoke of in-home care as an alternative to nursing homes.
"Every day these folks juggle full-time jobs and aging parents and children of their own with little help and no fanfare," Bredesen said. "They're being pulled in too many directions. They feel guilty for being frustrated. They're sad they may not be doing enough. And they have no one to talk to, no one to turn to."
Bredespin feels your pain.
The governor will tell you just what you want to hear. On the day Bredesen’s healthcare cuts take effect, including cutting the small and ineffective in-home options, the governor seems to imply that he supports in-home care.
But the governor did not apply his progressive Medicaid thinking to solve the problems facing TennCare, either before or after his Washington Press Club speech. Bredesen failed to gain recognition with the National Governors Association for his self-styled “reform.” The governor is not “saving” 97,000 individuals healthcare, he is disqualifying hundreds of thousands of citizens from necessary care and Bredesen does not support home-care, he just slashed it nearly totally from the state.
- Tim Wheat