TennCare Turmoil Continues

Gov. Phil Bredesen has yet more news on TennCare:

Gov. Phil Bredesen announced Tuesday that he had struck a deal with one set of lawyers representing TennCare enrollees that would protect 100,000 of the sickest patients from planned enrollment cuts.

“There is no question it is a heavy weight to be thinking about taking away health insurance from people, including some people that really need it,” Bredesen said. “There are people who are frail, and there are people who are vulnerable … and we need to find some ways to continue to help these people.

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“The governor does not promise protection to a single one of the 323,000 people losing coverage,” he said. “The fine print makes clear that the only sure thing is that the governor is demanding a removal of the constitutional rights of 1.3 million Tennesseans.”

The proposed settlement faces a number of hurdles, requiring the blessing of two federal judges and officials with federal Medicaid, which provides two-thirds of the funding for the health care program for the poor, disabled and uninsured. Lawmakers also need to approve portions of the deal.

Another possible sticking point is the price tag, which is $100 million beyond what the governor proposed for TennCare next year. Going forward, it would require $25 million a year more than planned because the agreement also calls for such cost-cutting mechanisms as a hard prescription limit of five per enrollee, including two brand-name prescriptions.

So in other words, it’s just more of the same. Bredesen has yet to offer a real solution, and, until he does, we’ll continue to get news stories like this.

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