Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Medpundit Backs Up Everything I Pointed Out About Kerry's disastrous Health Care Reform

Medpundit agrees that health care reform in the form of a giant government program is a terrible idea. It is already being tried in Tennessee as TenCare.

But like most things that sound too good to be true, it is. We don't have to imagine what would happen under Kerry's Medicaid expansion plan. All we have to do is look south, to Tennessee to see the Kerry plan in live action. Since 1994, Tennessee has provided state-funded healthcare with the same eligibility requirements as the Kerry plan. Nine years later the state's governor was calling it the dragon that eats everything, and financial management consultants were warning that by 2008 the program would consume $9 out of every $10 in new revenue taken in by the state. That's a lot of money, money that won't be available for other essential state-provided services.

And yet, despite spending all of that money, Tenncare patients still end up getting the shaft. In the grand American tradition, the program shunned rationing, covering everything from lava lamps to MRI's. The programs generosity, however, did not include doctors and hospitals, whose reimbursement rates are so low that seeing Tenncare patients is a losing proposition. As a result, access to care is a very real problem for Tenncare patients, some of whom have to drive 40 miles just to see a doctor. (And keep in mind, those are mountain miles.)

And what about the children? Only 19% of pediatricians in Tennessee accept Tenncare, the lowest participation rate of any state in the union. As a result, over one-third of children enrolled in Tenncare have trouble finding a doctor. That's a very real problem. And one that's much more serious and damaging to a child's health than lack of insurance.

Scary. No coincidence this rhymes with Kerry.

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