Marsha Blackburn explains how public-option health care failed in Tennessee

Tennessee tried to put in a public-option health care plan, and it has totally wrecked their state.

First, watch this video of Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn on FOX News.

Second, here is an op-ed she did for RealClearPolitics.


The genesis of TennCare has many parallels to the situation in which we find ourselves today. It was a public option plan designed to save money and expand coverage. In the early 1990s, Tennessee was facing rising costs in its Medicaid program. TennCare was designed to replace Mediaid with managed care and use the promised savings to expand coverage. By 1998, TennCare swelled to cover 1.2 million people. Private business dropped coverage for employees and forced them onto state rolls. By 2002 enrollment had swelled to 1.4 million people and forced Tennessee’s Governor to raise taxes and ultimately propose an entirely new state income tax to cover the unforeseen costs. Governor Bredesen was ultimately forced to dramatically restructure a program he has since called “a disaster”. By 2006 Bredesen had disenrolled nearly 200,000 people and slashed benefits.

This is a great editorial with lots of bullet points explaining everything that went wrong with TennCare. This is exactly the kind of case we need to be making – a case based on past experiences, instead of on rosy rhetoric.

ECM sent me this post from the National Review where K-Lo interviewed Marsha about her editorial.


LOPEZ: Should there be such a thing as a national health-care model? Or is this something states can tackle?

REP. BLACKBURN: A one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare would seem to me to be unworkable. Both health care and medical care should be personalized to the patient. While some reforms on cost, access, and insurance are needed, it would be difficult to have a national model.

There should be a hard look at federal regulation of insurance. What is Washington doing that forces costs to rise? Representative Shadegg has a tremendous bill that would alter federal barriers so that a broader spectrum of entities can offer coverage and individuals are encouraged to buy coverage privately. That will bring health-care costs closer to market forces and expand coverage. As insurance is reviewed, liability reform should also be addressed.

Instead of taking control of health care, maybe we should solve the actual problem of rising health care costs.

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