Rep. Marsha Blackburn has seen the future of health care in America that the Left wants to implement. Blackburn’s home state of Tennessee implemented TennCare, a Medicaid style program in 1994.
The results were predictable.
Employers moved employees onto TennCare because the subsidized public plan appeared to cost less. “As a result of this, insurance rates for those who have private coverage were going through the roof,” said Blackburn who spoke at Heritage’s weekly Blogger Briefing today.
Costs rose everywhere, however, not just within the dwindling private sector. “This program started to consume every new dollar that was generated in the state,” said Blackburn. The budget-busting program grew at a 1.5-percent annual rate, with costs skyrocketing from $2.5 billion in 1995 to $8 billion by 2004. “[Supporters] were willing to guarantee that it would save money – and it ends up eating 38% of the state’s budget.”
When costs explode in a public plan, there’s only one thing to do: ration health care. We reported on TennCare’s problems back in 2000.
Chronically low reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals have led to rationed care, which means less care in most cases.
A March 1999 actuarial review by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that managed care organizations reimbursed providers at a rate of about $11 per member per month (about 10 percent) below what would be considered an “actuarially sound” level.
“There is no example that you can point to that shows where having private insurance in competition with the public option brings the costs down. It leads to exploding costs,” said Blackburn.
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