Please Tell Me This Is Not For Real…

3 comments February 7th, 2009at 10:20pm Posted by Eli

Hopefully this is just another trial balloon, or something to make the next lobbyist hack look good, or else Obama has just radically shifted his healthcare strategy…

I’m puzzled by recent reports that President Obama is “in serious discussions” with former senior HMO executive Phil Bredesen to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Bredesen isn’t just an ex-HMO executive, he’s the current governor of Tennessee, and his record does not suggest that he is particularly interested in increasing access to health care.  According to an attorney who I trust on Tennessee policy issues:

  • Bredesen  presided in 2005-2006 over the deepest cuts in a public health insurance program in the nation’s history. The cuts took $1.9 billion a year out of the state’s health care system. The 170,000 disenrolled was the largest single increase to that point in the number of uninsured and accounted for a third of the entire national growth in the number of uninsured.
  • Tennessee is one of two states (the other being Mississippi, where Gov. Haley Barbour also cut Medicaid) that in 2005 bucked the national trend in steadily declining infant mortality. Tennessee’s infant mortality rate rose in 2005 to 9.0 per thousand. Tennessee is 45th in infant morality among the states. Memphis, the state’s most populous city, has the worst infant mortality rate in the nation. Gov. Bredesen is now cutting the state perinatal network’s funding by 50%.
  • Tennessee ranks 50th in support for home and community-based services as alternatives to institutionalization. Two months ago, a federal court found that the Bredesen Administration’s cuts in home nursing services violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by forcing people into nursing homes.

I believe that Candidate Obama meant it when he promised to make health care accessible and affordable to all Americans.  So I’m sure the reports that Bredesen could become President Obama’s point person on health care are mistaken.

It was bad enough when Obama nominated Foldy McMilquetoast to fight for universal healthcare, but now he wants someone whose whole history is fighting against it?  Has Obama joined the War On Healthcare, or is this some kind of clever reverse-psychology strategy?  After all, the GOP will reflexively oppose everything his administration does, so if his HHS Secretary starts crusading against universal healthcare, maybe the Republicans will start championing it.

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Healthcare,Obama,Politics,Wankers

3 Comments

  • 1. Cujo359  |  February 8th, 2009 at 3:46 am

    This isn’t a change, it’s more of the same. Daschle was as much a creature of the industries that are screwing up our health care system as this guy is.

  • 2. Eli  |  February 8th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Well, Daschle would have at least pushed halfassedly for a halfassed, industry-friendly form of universal healthcare (W00t.) – Bredesen wouldn’t even do that.

  • 3. Cujo359  |  February 11th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Considering that the effect of Daschle’s alleged half-assed plan would be to make us all hostage to the insurance companies for health care, I’d say Bredesen might be an improvement.


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