Haslam’s Tennessee Plan Is Hurtful And Expensive

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Yesterday, our State Democratic Chairman, Roy Herron, issued a statement responding to Governor Bill Haslam’s rejection of federal funding to expand Medicaid to cover many of Tennessee’s working poor. 

Chairman Herron wrote: "Deuteronomy 30 urges us to 'choose life,' but self-proclaimed 'pro-life' Republicans applauded the governor denying health insurance to 300,000 Tennesseans in working families, even though that means each week another parent, another child, another loved one—or two—will die. Reactionary and radical Republicans should never again call themselves 'pro-life,' not while condemning working Tennesseans without health insurance to die."

We are in full support of Chairman Herron’s statement and shocked by the callous, politically self-serving nature of the governor’s decision. His caving in to the calls of extremist right-wing legislators is now, sadly, becoming a hallmark of his administration. 

Today, we received an email from Dr. Mary Headrick, our candidate in the 2012 Congressional race, urging Hamilton County Democrats to call the governor’s office and protest this bad decision. Dr. Headrick, who has practiced in the emergency rooms and clinics of East Tennessee for 30 years, was the first medical director for Knoxville’s InterFaith Health Clinic, serving the uninsured working poor. She also practiced at the Community Health Clinic in Oak Ridge that sought to divert non-emergency patients from emergency rooms to less costly facilities. She has been in the trenches. This situation is reality to her, not a political football to be used to score points.

“Governor Haslam chose a path that is more expensive per enrollee for the federal government,” writes Dr. Headrick. “In order to strip skin off the backs of low-income workers making less than $15,415 per year (2012 dollars), Governor Haslam refused to accept $730.7 million from the [federal government];  $730.7 million to supply TennCare to 144,500 low-income Tennesseans in 2014.  

“Expect three years of accelerated costs while those newly insured ‘catch up’ in obtaining health care. Mr. Haslam refused $730.7 million for one of those three expensive years. Low-income families, local governments, hospitals and clinics will be hurt.  

“Meanwhile, Mr. Haslam leaves a ‘donut hole.’  Childless adults ages 19-64 who earn under 100 percent of poverty get no help.  Mr. Haslam’s ‘Tennessee Plan’ is hurtful and expensive.”

Sadly, Dr. Headrick is not currently representing us in Washington, where she would have been a courageous and informed fighter for all 3rd District constituents. But we urge anyone, Democrat, Republican or independent, who cares about the health and welfare of our entire community, to follow her lead, and that of Chairman Roy Herron, and call the governor’s office to demand that this decision be reconsidered.  

Paul Smith, Chairman
Hamilton County Democratic Party


Time To Target The Criminal

While we are in the mood to give up our constitutional rights, why not go after a few in our justice system that protect the criminal and not restrict the law-abiding gun owner?  I for one would be more agreeable to keeping some of these killers off the streets. I gladly welcome TSA screening at the airport, I am pleased when they ask me for an ID at the bank even though ... (click for more)

Supporting Joanne Favors - And Response

I am asking you to join me in voting for Rep. Joanne Favors as the state representative of the 28th Legislative District.  Rep. Favors epitomizes the dedication, desire, experience and the ability required to do what is needed for her constituents and others in the city, county and state of Tennessee.  We must always keep in mind that our votes really count, especially ... (click for more)

County Commission Gives Up Fight On $900,000 In Discretionary Funds

County Commission members have given up the fight for the annual $900,000 in discretionary funds. Commission Chairman Chester Bankston said there was not enough money available after requests from a number of agencies and departments were cut to balance the budget without a tax increase. Commissioner Sabrena Smedley said the fact that commissioners can no longer allot the ... (click for more)

1 Person Killed And Several Others Injured In 2 Wrecks Near Ooltewah Exit Of I-75

One person was killed and several others injured in two wrecks early Wednesday morning on I-75 northbound at exit 11.   Northbound lanes were closed while emergency crews worked both accidents. Traffic was rerouted to Old Lee Highway to avoid the accident scene.   Traffic was backed up for an extended time before it eventually re-opened.   The initial ... (click for more)

UTC Coach Jim Foster Recalls His Memories Of Pat Summitt

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s head basketball coach Jim Foster took time out Tuesday afternoon to meet with local media to answer questions about his relationship with the late Pat Summitt, the former head coach and most recently the Head Coach Emeritus of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols.   The two Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame coaches met each ... (click for more)

Unbeaten Fairyland Clinches Red Division Swim Title

Members of the Calhoun swim team were set and ready to compete on the pool deck at the Fairyland Club Monday night, but they never got wet as the meet was postponed by lighting, thunder and the overall threat of stormy weather. They made the long trip back about 24 hours later and the second time around wasn’t nearly as productive as 21 less swimmers made the trip to the top ... (click for more)