Bredesen’s Too Late With His Health-Care Plan

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I appreciate Joe Sullivan’s summary of ex-Gov. Bredesen’s prescription for our health-care system in his Jan. 13 column. [“Health Plan,” Insights] However, I cannot see how he has any credibility with these recommendations. He’s a day late and a dollar short with them.

After proving himself to be the health-care Grinch of all Grinches by presiding over the largest disenrollment from care of sick poor people in our national history, now he wants to claim he’s really a modified single-payer supporter. After he did nothing publicly to support a better national health-care reform package than the Affordable Care Act of which he’s now a front-row critic, he claims the reform didn’t go far enough. When he disenrolled nearly 200,000 sick and poor Tennesseans from TennCare in 2005 and kicked them out into the darkness of shortened lives, medical bankruptcy, or chronic pain, he signed himself out of the club for the compassionate. He had alternatives, though the press never made them public enough for even a fair discussion.

If he believes in the ideas in his book, he had a chance to try them out in 2005 in Tennessee and didn’t even utter a peep. It’s hard to see Fresh Medicine as other than the effort of a man, who still won’t apologize to those he grievously injured, to act as if the harm never happened. It’s hard to see it as other than a message to the Obama administration that if only they’d picked him to be Secretary of Health and Human Services when they considered him, he would have saved them from their current fate. I see it as the same thing that Wendell Potter, in Jack Neely’s wonderful piece in the same issue of Metro Pulse, calls the work of Bredesen’s old colleagues from the health insurance industry, namely, deadly spin.

Richard Henighan


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