TN should say no to ObamaCare

Published December 15, 2010

Nine months ago, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, ushering in the largest-ever government intrusion into American’s health-care decisions.

By 2014, all Americans will be forced to purchase health insurance or face a fine. New health insurance plans will require a stamp of approval by the federal government. And Medicaid, government-run insurance for the poor, will balloon in size, crippling state budgets.

Because as many as 40 million Americans are expected to refuse the individual mandate, waiting instead until they are sick before they purchase health insurance, ObamaCare could literally create a “nation of outlaws” chased down by IRS agents.

Of those who do follow the law, some 80 million-100 million will be forced to change their current coverage. So much for Obama’s claim that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” Many will be forced into an individual or government plan when their employers drop their health insurance because they can no longer afford it.

Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen recently bucked his party when he warned that it’s perfectly logical for employers — including Tennessee’s largest employer, state government — to drop coverage and allow employees to go onto government insurance rolls. According to Bredesen, who has extensive experience and a track record of success in the health-care field, Tennessee could save $146 million a year by dropping coverage for its nearly 40,000 state employees.

ObamaCare also could lead to a scarcity of doctors. Four in 10 doctors have said they will stop practicing medicine within three years because of the new law. With fewer doctors and an increase in demand for health-care services, long lines will most certainly become the norm.

Right now in Canada, 800,000 people are awaiting medical treatment.

Similarly, a quarter of a million people are waiting to be admitted to a hospital in England. And these are the countries whose health-care systems we’re attempting to imitate.

On top of this, ObamaCare forces states to increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid. Our Medicaid system, TennCare, already eats up nearly 25 percent of the state budget. The federal government will soon force Tennessee to add an additional 375,000 people to TennCare, costing as much as $200 million more each year. In the near future, nearly one-third of Tennesseans could be eligible for TennCare.

There is a silver lining. So far, 22 states have stood up and said “no thank you” to ObamaCare. Led by Florida, these states have sued the federal government, arguing that the individual mandate and Medicaid expansions are unconstitutional. It is likely one of these cases will land before the U.S. Supreme Court, and it’s possible the high court will agree with the states, leaving ObamaCare on the ash heap of history.

Once he’s sworn in as our next governor, Bill Haslam will have the authority to enter the fight to defend Tennesseans’ health-care rights. Attorney General Bob Cooper already has the ability to join the lawsuit, but has thus far refused to do so.

It’s imperative that Tennesseans urge both Gov.-elect Haslam and General Cooper to stand up for their constitutional rights and protect the state’s fiscal well-being. Our state leaders are the last line of defense against an arrogant and out-of-control federal government. We must count on their leadership now more than ever