Governor Haslam Must Not Like Poor People - And Response

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I do not understand why Tennessee's Governor Haslam does like poor people. This letter is meant only for readers with low incomes and no health insurance, specifically for people younger than 65 whose income is less than $16,000, or who are part of a couple whose income is less than $21,400, or who are part of a family of four whose income is less than $32,500. 

Did you know that the U.S. government — yes, your government, the one you pay taxes to — has offered to enlarge the pool of those eligible for the free medical insurance offered by the Medicaid program? This is not Obamacare. Medicaid insurance is a good health care plan. The only problem is that Tennessee’s governor — that’s Republican Bill Haslam — has said no. He has turned down this free medical insurance for you and your family. Maybe he thinks you don’t need it.  

It’s tough to watch your family get sick and suffer, and it’s tough for the more than 300,000 other Tennesseans who have now become eligible for this extended Medicaid insurance but can’t get it. Haslam doesn’t need it. He has enough money to afford the best.  He will tell you about his alternative plan, but no one has ever really seen it, and he has never submitted it to Medicaid for approval. 

Perhaps that’s because it is designed to be a handout to big insurance companies and would insure fewer than half as many people. That’s the Republican way. 

Governors of other states apparently care more about their poorer citizens than does Haslam. They’ve signed up their states so their citizens can get this new Medicaid insurance. After all, the U.S. government is going to pay for most of it. It’s not going to cost the states. What’s not to like, Governor Haslam? I guess it’s poor people.

Lynn Morehous

Knoxville 

* * * 

Another letter from Knoxville. Is this an organized letter writing blitz? Is this attorney David Lynn Morehous of Morehous Legal Group PLLC or attorney Lynn G. Morehous? 

If I were part of a couple whose income was less than $21,400, after taking the $20,000 standard deduction and exemptions last year, we would have paid a total of $141 income tax. So my federal government to whom I paid 0.6589 percent (yes, the decimal and percent sign are both supposed to be there) income tax is offering to expand free medical insurance. If we made exactly $21,400 last year, we would have paid $310.30 into Medicare and our employers would have matched that amount. We would have paid $1,326.80 into Social Security Retirement and our employers would have matched that amount. I would pay no other federal tax, except specific taxes such as what is included in the price of my gasoline. 

I don't think my $141 would fund very much, so someone else's taxes would have to pay the costs for that free medical pool of which you speak. 

Let's not forget that other states have an income tax. Maybe they fund their "caring more for poor people than Governor Haslam does" from the income tax they collect. Maybe they have an abundance of attorneys whose income taxes can fund it sufficiently. Who knows? 

Does this offered expansion come with no strings attached? No orders from DC to spend some amount of money with none of those funds obtained federally, all to be raised through state taxes. If the funds do have to come from the state, a fee on attorneys that cannot be passed on to their clients, such as the insurance companies will be assessed by Obamacare, might be able to fund it. Who knows? 

You say no one has ever really seen the governor's alternate plan. How is that any different from a federal representative saying they don't know what's in Obamacare and they have to pass it first, then figure it out? Not that I believe either line we're fed is any better than the other. 

Macel Holloway
Signal Mountain


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