Want to know what killing health insurance for 67,000 people looks like? Something like this:
A proposal to put $100 million back into TennCare to keep "uninsurables" enrolled kept the Tennessee House in session for an extra day. Rep. Joey Hensley's (R-Hohenwald) amendment to the budget bill would have steered that money away from Gov. Bredesen's plans to beef up the state's health care "safety net." Well-intentioned though the safety net plans are, moving the money back into TennCare makes sense because then it would draw $180 million of federal matching funds. Last time I checked, $280 million for health care for otherwise uninsured sick people beats $100 million every time.
But not, apparently, if it stands between the legislature and adjournment. As the tote board shows, Hensley's amendment went down Saturday morning by a more than two-to-one margin, clearing the way for easy final passage of the budget, and a beeline out of town for lawmakers (indicted and unindicted alike).