Learning from TennCare

What else do we know about TennCare?

From the Weekly Standard: "Tennesseeans are especially skeptical of Obamacare — and with reason.”

[TennCare's] track record goes back to 1994, when TennCare was launched by Democratic governor Ned McWherter on the promise that it would save the state money, reduce costs, and increase coverage. Instead, in a decade, the program went from a budget of $2.5 billion to nearly $8 billion, became mired in litigation, and was forced to make major cuts.

TennCare most obviously parallels the “public plan,” which is now dead on the national level. So you might think that TennCare isn’t relevant. Then again, the “public plan” is still alive, in the form of co-ops.

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The Weekly Standard article reviews some of the factors that caused TennCare to implode: the contractors who ran the program were not allowed to review the eligibility of enrolled patients, leading to fraud, waste and abuse; it did nothing to reduce the amount of uncompensated care that hospitals provided; projections showed that TennCare would eventually capture 90 percent of the state tax growth.

No wonder four “blue dog” Democrats has opposed the “public plan.”

(Cross-posted from State House Call.)