Thu
Mar 21 2013
09:25 am
h71.jpg
Rep. Vance Dennis
Who elects these people?

Tom Humphrey reports that "Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, said he had found 'the Achilles heel of Obamacare' with his bill (HB476) and, once Tennessee approves it, other states are likely to follow and doom the federal health care program."

Except it isn't and it won't. It's just another stupid attempt at nullification. Also, why do our Republican state legislators not want the citizens of Tennessee to have access to affordable, portable health insurance that they pay for out of their own pocket if they so choose? Or let insurance companies sell it to them? I don't get it.

Greg H's picture

Dumb and Dumber, meet Dumbest

All of these bills are simply about fanning the flames of the anti-Obama bonfires with the voters back home (unless these legislators are even stupider than I suspect - Yes, Mae Beavers, I'm looking at you!). Too bad most (if not all) of the measures are unconstitutional and/or have dire impacts on TN businesses.

Andy Axel's picture

Also, why do our Republican

Also, why do our Republican state legislators not want the citizens of Tennessee to have access to affordable, portable health insurance that they pay for out of their own pocket if they so choose?

Because FREEDOM!

Min's picture

Also...

SOCIALISM!

Mike Cohen's picture

Lxgr

I know I will get jumped for this, but I guess that doesn't stop me.

First off, I am for the expansion. I would love to see everyone have access to medical care.

But I think the people who are opposed or worried are not all or necessarily uncaring, Obama haters.

They are just worried about money. And as an elected official, especially as one in a state where a balanced budget is constitutionally mandated, it is a legitimate concern.

When the federal government put Special Education regulations in place, the promise was 40% federal funding. When I worked for Knox County schools, it had never been more than about 14%. Millions and millions of dollars every year. A good cause, but costly. Mandated by the feds, who totally ignored their promise to fund.

The dollars here are astronomically higher.

Are there Obama haters? Sure. But let's not make it seem like anyone who opposes this expansion is automatically an uncaring idiot. There are some real reasons to question it.

R. Neal's picture

This is not about

This is not about Medicare/TennCare expansion. This is about allowing health insurance exchanges (you know, free/open market) to operate in Tennessee. Tennessee opted out, and authorized the federal government to run it. The esteemed Representative is trying to circumvent that.

cafkia's picture

Sorry Brother Mike but, if

Sorry Brother Mike but, if you want me to believe that they are truly fiscally conservative, and that that is the reason for their idiotic actions, you will have to show me a lot more. You will have to show me where they noticed that abortions and teen pregnancy traditionally decrease in number under social liberals and that they realized how much money that could save and changed their stance accordingly. You will have to show me how they understand the high cost of war in general and specifically, having contractors handle most of the non-combat actions in a war zone and what actions they took to reduce those wars/costs. You will have to show me where they insisted that all state vehicles be the most fuel efficient they can and still do the job (getting people back and forth to work can be done with Smart Cars). You will have to show me where they all insisted that paper and ink were not necessary in this age of ubiquitous tablet computers. You will have to show me a shitload more if I am to believe that there is one single fiscal conservative in the TN Legislature. I rather doubt you can do it.

reform4's picture

Agreed. @Mike:

Mike, the 'fig leaf' of so-called fiscal conservatism and 'small govmint' was laid bare when I asked one of my state senators who was all about "reducing burdensome regulations on business" about repealing the onerous requirement for EVERY small business (not just ones doing biz with the state) to E-Verify every worker. I explained the E-Verify web site sucks, and it takes roughly 10-15 hours to come up to speed and verify your employees- multiply that by 300,000 small businesses in Tennessee (OK, let's say 120,000 big enough to have employees), and you have the equivalent of about 700 full time jobs wasted in the economy.

The response from the senator? Nothing. The response to follow-up emails and calls. Nothing. I said I'd be happy to come to Nashville and testify at how this regulation is burdensome to small businesses. Nothing.

When anyone in the Legislature says they're trying to help small business, I call bullshit. Because 99% of the time, it's partisan hogwash they photocopied form their ALEC seminar and don't understand the implications.

Frankly, I'm glad they are bailing on the state-run exchange, because I think the Haslam admin is incapable of running a one-man parade, much less starting up an exchange (and one that isn't rampant with nepotism and cronyism). At least with the Fed option, it will be decently managed.

WRT the Medicaid expansion, if the law says 90% funding after X years, and the funding doesn't meet 90%, then I would think (1) the states could sue and (2) the states could declare the Feds in breach and drop the program. n'est pas? THAT makes more sense than spending million$ suing the feds because they don't like Obamacare.

Oh... common sense... republicans... I see the fallacy in my thinking. Nevermind.

EricLykins's picture

First off, I am for the

First off, I am for the expansion. I would love to see everyone have access to medical care.

But I think the people who are opposed or worried are not all or necessarily uncaring, Obama haters.

They are just worried about money. And as an elected official, especially as one in a state where a balanced budget is constitutionally mandated, it is a legitimate concern.

Health care cost containment is much more complex than wrestling with the access issue,” said David Seltz, executive director of the Health Policy Commission, a state body [in Massachusetts] established by the new law to track cost-containment issues from a consumer perspective.

Massachusetts is also required to balance their budget. What is our legislature doing on the cost-containment front? Some semi low hanging fruit would be to stop failing at price transparency.

Our accountable care effort isn't worth mentioning in a state-by-state comparison.

) It is the policy of the State of Tennessee to encourage the improvement of patient safety, the quality of patient care and the evaluation of the quality, safety, cost, processes and necessity of healthcare services by hospitals, healthcare facilities and healthcare providers. Tennessee further recognizes that certain protections must be available to these entities to ensure that they are able to effectively pursue these measures.

That doesn't seem to actually DO anything. Is the "certain protection" the certainty that the legislature will continue to bluster to avoid work?

"Is there maybe some justification for holding off until next year and seeing how this is working out in other states?"

No. Management starts with measurement and there's really no excuse for zero progress in that area.

Is the private sector even happy with all of this inaction? Not really.

As much as these predominantly private-sector leaders dread the prospect of deeper interventions by government, few of them seem to be able to imagine other alternatives.

gonzone's picture

>Also, why do our Republican

>Also, why do our Republican state legislators not want the citizens of Tennessee to have access to affordable, portable health insurance that they pay for out of their own pocket if they so choose? Or let insurance companies sell it to them?

Because there's a black man in the White House!

Mike Cohen's picture

Reasons

I did offer a reason: the fear that Tennessee gets left holding the bag for a huge cost. I gave the example of special ed.

Money is a legitimate reason to question a policy. If the feds fund it for a couple of years and then stick the state with the cost, that can be a problem.

Again....I am for the expansion. I just don't believe everyone against it is a racist and/or idiot.

jbr's picture

US Census Federal Aid to

US Census Federal Aid to States
Federal Aid to States for Fiscal Year 2010

bizgrrl's picture

Interesting how Texas and

Interesting how Texas and Florida are not big receivers of Federal funds (bottom 10 per capita) even though both do not have state income taxes. How do they do it? I was surprised to see New York so high on the list. I thought New York was more like California. Guess not.

jbr's picture

Let them eat cake

From CNN ...

24.6% - The percentage of uninsured people in Texas, the highest of any state.

By the numbers: Health insurance

Texas is in trouble too. State lawmakers last week unveiled an austere budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal years that cuts $31 billion in spending. Schools, colleges, Medicaid and social services for the needy will be hit especially hard.

Texas's love/hate relationship with Washington's money

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Back in 2002, at the height of the last TN income tax debate, Tom Humphrey did an interesting four-part series called Taxing Tennessee in which he examined the tax methodology of the eight non-income tax states.*

He reported that Texas gets by taxing oil and that Florida gets by taxing tourism and commercial leases (?).

As to the other non-income tax states, I recall that Alaska also gets by taxing oil and somebody taxes mineral rights heavily.

I don't remember what the balance of those eight states do, but Humphrey summarized that all eight tax resources or industries that TN can't.

* (There were then nine non-income tax states, but Alabama has since adopted an income tax following the WSJ-acclaimed publication of Susan Pace Hamill's Biblically-based treatise The Least of These: Fair Taxes and the Moral Duty of Christians.)

jbr's picture

Texas Permanent University Fund

It looks like some of Higher Ed in Texas has an $18 billion fund from which they distribute (AUF) for projects and system administration.
Permanent University Fund

Looks like ~$200 Million was distributed last year to Univ of Texas alone.
Univ Texas Budget and Analysis

fischbobber's picture

Sticking to the State

The Fed isn't sticking it to the citizens of Tennessee. Haslam is.

And yes, the vast majority of the people that oppose Tennessee opting in to the Affordable Care Act ARE racist and/or idiots.

Rachel's picture

May?And Mike, I agree with

May?

And Mike, I agree with you that are factors to consider in the Medicaid expansion, although I am 100% for the state opting in.

But this is the insurance exchange. This guy wants to keep Tennessee insurers from participating in the exchange the Feds will set up cause Haslam decided the state wouldn't.

Howe freakin' business friendly is that?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Mike is correct, though, in pointing to the 1975 IDEA as a promise never fulfilled. The fed's assurances that they would cover 40% of national average costs for these students notwithstanding, they were covering just 16.1% of costs in fiscal 2011, so little has changed since Mike worked for KCS.

The IDEA has, indeed, been the prime example of an unfunded mandate in recent decades and does make one wary that it could happen again with the PPACA.

And I also support PPACA and the expansion.

Nelle's picture

Where do these guys come from?

That's what I think when I see this guy's picture.

Is there an isolated farmstead somewhere that's bringing up a new crop of cherub-faced sadists every couple of years?

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