Congress isn’t the only battleground in the fight to preserve Medicaid. Several states are considering deep cuts in their Medicaid programs. The most critical is Tennessee, where Gov. Phil Bredesen has proposed the largest cutback of state public health programs in the nation’s history. Gov. Bredesen would strip 323,000 Tennesseans of their health coverage, including 97,000 with chronic conditions and high health care costs. His plan would saddle 396,000 enrollees, no matter how sick, with arbitrary limits on their care. It is likely many beneficiaries will become sicker, and some will die, as a result of losing coverage.
Bredesen makes no secret of his desire to export his vision to destroy Medicaid to the nation. FamiliesUSA has set up an online petition urging Gov. Bredesen to renounce his plan to strip 323,000 Tennesseans of their health coverage. Please sign the petition by clicking here — only takes a few seconds.
Bredeson’s vision of national Medicaid reform would impose onerous cost-sharing requirements and arbitrary limits on services for beneficiaries. Because of Gov. Bredesen’s increasingly visible national profile, his actions could have negative national repercussions for Medicaid. There is a clear danger for national Medicaid reform—as Tennessee goes, so might go the nation.