It is hardly reassuring that State Senator Marsha Blackburn of Williamson County has now issued a formal statement of approval concerning the Sundquist administration’s proposed TennCare changes. This is the same Marsha Blackburn, after all, who wrote the infamous emails asking for “troops” that initiated the crowd disturbances at the Capitol on the night of July 12th. As a dedicated spokesperson for the poshest suburban communities adjoining Nashville, Blackburn has never wasted any tears on the less properous and fortunate. And what she finds so commendable in the suggested new TennCare regulations -- offered by the governor as a concession on behalf of tax reform -- is the very premise that we find so lamentable in them. What Sundquist has done to accommodate his critics on the right is bow to their demands to “fix” TennCare by pruning away large numbers of those currently being cared for. In essence, the TennCare population would be divided into two groups, with not quite half -- predominantly chldren and uninsurables whose prior medical history had prevented them from being served by private insurors -- being related to a limbo status. Or, as Blackburn’s press release puts it: “Appropriately managing the group of insured and uninsurables and children that have been added to the program should lead to a reduction in the total program costÉ.” That’s right-wingerese for ‘Cut ‘em loose so we can save a few bucks.’ Never mind that Governor Sundquist has argued in the past that these patients have attracted federal funding which more than offset their expense and that letting them go would constitute a burden on the state’s emergency rooms and thereby incite an increase in local jurisdictions’ property taxes. The governor was right in the first place and is wrong now. Marsha Blackburn’s quick endorsement should have told him that.


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