What Happens if Tennessee Opts Out of ObamaCare?



So glad you asked. Jeff Woods checks the collective blood pressure of the Volunteer State — and measures the costs of thumbing our nose at the Affordable Care act — in this week's Scene cover story:

If Tennessee opts out, preventive care remains unaffordable for the state's citizens who are still uninsured, so emergency room visits don't decrease and everyone's premiums don't go down. What's more, Tennesseans still help pay for the program through our federal income taxes — only for every other American to enjoy.

And it's all to try to save $300 million in state dollars annually — a cost Republicans say the state can't afford, but which we probably will incur anyway no matter what we do.

Those conclusions are mostly derived from a cost-benefit study conducted earlier this year by the University of Memphis. Assessing the economic impact of the health care law, the study found that an additional $7.5 billion in federal money would be spent in Tennessee in the law's first five years. In 2014 — the first year alone —the study estimated an extra $454 million in federal spending would create 7,573 new jobs, growing to 29,440 jobs in 2019.

Had the agent of this good fortune been something other than the dreaded "ObamaCare" — say, the opening of a new industrial plant somewhere — the study might have ignited a wild statewide celebration. Instead, the study has been little noticed and hardly mentioned since its release in March, at the height of the maelstrom over the health care system overhaul.

Read the entire story here or find a Scene box, take two and call us maybe?

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