The Tennessean, January 4, 2011
Eight years ago, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen successfully campaigned on his pledge to fix TennCare or end it. Since then, the governor has steered the state?s public healthcare program through the most turbulent changes of any of the 50 state Medicaid programs, drastically cutting enrollment, limiting benefits and reining in spending. Rising healthcare costs and new federal policy mean the Bredesen administration?s eight-year effort to bring the TennCare budget under control has only bought Tennessee time. Nationally, advocates opposing an expanded government role in healthcare credit Bredesen for making hard decisions to cut more than 350,000 people from TennCare?s rolls, staving off a state budget crisis. Critics say the human impact of the cuts has been deep, with new data showing many pushed off the TennCare rolls remain uninsured.