House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicts no state will be crazy enough to opt out. We're talking about tons of free federal money to pay for health care for residents, helping hospitals and doctors who now frequently are stuck with unpaid bills and lowering costs for everyone in the process. The way Pelosi sees it, even cold-hearted conservatives will be forced to set aside their hatred of the president and surrender once they see the law’s benefits in neighboring states.
We know better, don’t we? Not only will Tennessee opt out, the Republicans who run our state will do it joyously. Already, Gov. Bill Haslam and his minions are talking up the possibility of saving $200 million by refusing to give health care coverage to anyone new. We’re not sure why they think it’ll cost the state anything since the feds are paying for it all — at least for the first three years — but let’s not get bogged down in messy details. The point is, we can thumb our nose at Washington!
Senate GOP leader Mark Norris went so far as to embrace Sen. Mae Beavers’ unsettling scheme for Tennessee to seize control of all federal health care programs. How would you feel about this Republican legislature running Medicare?
After yesterday’s ruling, Tennessee progressives called on Republicans to stop dragging their feet and start implementing the law.
“With this landmark decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has marked the end of partisan political games to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” says Beth Uselton of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign.
Actually, the games have just begun.
Update: Lady Beale points out Louisiana's Bobby Jindal is refusing to set up a health insurance exchange as the law requires. Tennessee Republicans already balked at that, even though all the exchanges aim to do is make it easier for consumers to shop for insurance.