by Jeff Woods
Under the Health Care Compact, Congress would send billions of dollars — $11 billion in Tennessee’s case — to a bunch of states that banded together to run Medicaid and Medicare as they saw fit. It’s a scary thought. Can you imagine these Keystone Kops in the legislature trying to run our health care programs? How about Mae Beavers as Commissioner of Medicare?
The vote was 9-9, with four Republicans voting against it. One of them—Franklin Rep. Charles Sargent—pointed out there’s no reason to pass it. Barring a complete tea party takeover in Washington, the Health Care Compact won’t happen. It’s a possibility only in the fevered imaginations of right-wing kooks.
“Why are we putting something on the books that does nothing?” Sargent asked the sponsor, Lebanon Rep. Mark Pody, who couldn’t come up with a satisfactory answer.
This vote is depressing for Democrats. In last year’s elections, they attacked Republicans for voting for the Health Care Compact in the 2012 session. Trying to scare old people, Democrats pointed out it would jeopardize Medicare for Tennessee seniors. If Republicans are going to start acting reasonably, there’s no hope for Democrats.