Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Politics of TennCare

I got to thinkin' the other day... there is a huge misconception out there about TennCare and how it came about. Fact is, I've been meaning to write this for a long time... I reckon its time I got around to it.

To understand how a conservative state like Tennessee ended up with its very own social medicine you have to go all the way back to 1980. That's when Tennessee's problems with Medicaid started really showing up.

Year after year medicaid payments were increasing... and by 1986 it was getting noticable. But that was just the begining.

From 1987 to 1993 medicaid charges tripled in Tennessee. By this time the Feds were really paying attention... and the State of Tennessee found itself on the butt-end of several court cases. Fraud within Medicaid was rampant. Pockets of various individuals... Governor Ned Ray in particular had been lined with fraudlent Medicaid money... and by God it was time to pay the piper.

Ned Ray caught a break though... His bird huntin' buddy Bill Clinton got elected President in 1992.

Mrs Clinton, if you'll recall, was all fired up on social medicine. Hillary Care if you will. Ol' Slick Willie... he's a manipulator. He knows how to use power... if ya know what I mean. So... Here is his buddy Ned Ray bent over a barrell over medicaid fraud... and here is his wife... itching to prove that utopian social medicine can work.

So... a bird hunting trip got planned.

Simple really... Tennessee adopted what amounted to a pilot Hillary Care program... and all those Federal Lawsuits just sorta disappeared.

Since Ned Ray and Bill were friends... we won't use the word blackmail. We'll just call it a deal. A deal that put the people of Tennessee over the barrell, and let a few powerful individuals and a few big healthcare corporations get away with stealing millions.

Well.. at least we can take comfort in the knowledge that TennCare basicly bankrupted those same HealthCare corporations that benefited from the deal that formed it.

Now if we could just get Ned Ray thrown in jail...