Publisher’s Position: No Surprise About ‘Insure Tennessee’

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By Steve Hunley

Governor Bill Haslam is surprised over the defeat of his “Insure Tennessee” program inside a committee in the State Senate.  I’m not the least bit surprised.

Evidently the governor doesn’t talk to many people outside his own circle.

The legislature is overwhelmingly Republican these days and the cries of horror by much of the news media and the business establishment is predictable, if not amusing.  The news media, for all their scorn for FOX, has their own left of center bias.  The business establishment was all for “Insure Tennessee” because it poured money into their own pockets.  The Chamber of Commerce, the Tennessee Hospital Association, and the Tennessee Business Roundtable all endorsed the governor’s proposal.  Nary a surprise in the bunch.  Some even recalled the Tennessee Business Roundtable had endorsed an income tax for Tennesseans.

The cries of outrage and horror have been loud and long.  Still, some acknowledged many Republicans share a distaste for Obamacare, but not one news article I saw independently acknowledged President Obama’s now infamous statement, made during his weekly address on June 6, 2009, “If you like the plan you can have, you can keep it.  If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too.  The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”

Considering that those statements were not true for many Americans, just why would it surprise Governor Haslam there was an inherent distrust of another government health care program?

Some media outlets have vindictively tried to emphasize the insurance provided some state legislators.  Some don’t feel legislators should qualify for health insurance in any event.  Most of those people share one attribute in common: they almost universally favor giving any government benefit or service to just about anyone, except for a middle class working American, for free.

Of course NOTHING is ever free.

TennCare had become a complete disaster and it was a Democratic governor, Phil Bredesen, who trimmed it and reformed it.  Governor Bredesen made it more manageable once again.  The cost to the state had become beyond burdensome; it had become a gaping pit with a voracious appetite.

There are howls from folks about the billions of federal dollars that would come to Tennessee to pay for the program, but that lasts for two years.  After that, Tennesseans start picking up a portion of the tab.  And as the price tag escalated, the money would have to come from either new taxes or take it away from some other priority.

There really are some people out there who need help and I have no objection to them receiving government assistance.  What I do object to are people who become virtually wards of the state for a lifetime.  You will only ever rarely hear those on the left talk about those who remain the beneficiaries of programs that were never designed to last for a lifetime.

Every parent would like to do as much for his or her child as he or she materially can; but for those parents who have been successful, there is a fine line to walk before one has spoiled the child and given that child unreasonable expectations.

For those parents who have had to work hard and just scraped by, they are by no means terrible parents simply because they weren’t able to give everything they wanted materially to their children.  There seems to be a lot of evidence my generation has coddled our children and certainly just about anyone would agree the work ethic in this country is not what it once was.

This was NOT a debate between the compassionate and the heartless anymore than it was a conversation between avarice and virtue.  We continue to spend at an astonishing rate in our government; President Obama has raised the deficit more than all his predecessors combined.  We are not taxing Americans to pay for all the new programs and expanding the old ones.  That seems to cause some Americans to believe that things are free.

My goodness, we are going need some compassion when that bill comes due and it will.

Any intelligent program must be one that serves the truly needy, lends a helping hand to those who need to get back on their feet, but none should permanently support people to exist on the government dole, insurance or otherwise, for a lifetime.

Credibility, whether in business or politics, is priceless and Governor Haslam should have known after the continuous controversy of Obamacare, that it would be  a tough sell in Tennessee.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

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