I read a comment from a staff member of a Republican member of the task force defending her boss. She said he wanted health care like anyone else but he was trying to find a way to provide affordable health care. He, she assured the person she was writing, really did care.
I wondered if she had heard of Insure Tennessee and if her boss was looking for something more affordable than free but then I realized when she said affordable health care she was talking about Republican affordable health care. Not really the same thing….
From everything I have read it appears that a major part of Republican affordable health care will be charity health clinics. The first thing that tells me is that none of them have ever been to a charity health clinic.
A lot of very fine people work in them. The staffs are motivated and they care. They provide help to people that no one else will.
The idea that they are the answer to the crisis of 280,000 Tennesseans in the coverage gap is a humongous stupidity born out of partisan politics, wishful thinking and willful and sustained ignorance. Every clinic I know of is packed and overpacked with clients. They are understaffed and in many cases underresourced to an incredible degree. The idea you are going to add 125,000 or whatever amount of people that is phased in to their rolls and that somehow is quality health care or that it will not involve major expense (far, far, far past what Insure Tennessee would cost) for the state of Tennessee would strain the limits of credibility for any non Republican adult that I know.
Health care clinics at their best do not do much that is health care. They are not supposed to. No clinic I have found will provide the surgery I need. They cannot and are not supposed to substitute for the care of specialists. And they are not hospitals.
Tennessee will soon have, for lack of a better term, segregated health systems. It will not be based on race but on location. They will be separate and incredibly unequal…. one for those people who live in rural areas and one for those who don’t. Charity health clinics will not give new life to dying hospitals.
In the end it is remarkably simple. Be honest. The answer to 280,000 people without insurance is 280,000 people with insurance. The mechanism for that is on the table. If you aren’t going to provide a real answer don’t try to cover us up with hocus pocus and flip flam nonsense. Just say as Republicans we are unable to help you without being disloyal to our party and we are unwilling to do that. Good luck.
I think that was what Senator Gardenhire was trying to say last year when he told us we were “assholes.”