Now that Tom Daschle has withdrawn his name for Secretary of HHS word is the the Obama administration is considering Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen for the post.
As governor, Bredesen presided over some drastic cuts to TennCare, Tennessee’s once innovative effort to reform Medicaid.
… Bredesen knew a thing or two about health care: before getting into politics, he had made his fortune by founding a company called HealthAmericaâ€”one of the ï¬rst commercial HMOs to cash in on managed care during the late 1980s. This experience, plus his conï¬dence in his own intellectual abilities (he had a physics degree from Harvard), convinced him that he could wring new efï¬ciencies from Tennesseeâ€™s Medicaid system, just as his HMO had generated ï¬nancial savingsâ€”and hefty proï¬tsâ€”in the private market.
A lot of what Bredesen proposed to doâ€”such as reducing fraud by providers and recipients, and improving the use of information technologyâ€”made sense. But when those quick ï¬xes didnâ€™t bring the TennCare budget under control, he unveiled a more straightforward plan: he would simply slash the program. More than 100,000 people who had qualiï¬ed for TennCare because they were â€œmedically needyâ€ would lose their coverage altogether. Those allowed to remain in the program would have to make do with more limited beneï¬ts. The biggest change would be in the coverage of prescription drugs. â€œThe sad reality is that we canâ€™t afford TennCare in its current form,â€ Bredesen said. â€œIt pains me to set this process in motion, but I wonâ€™t let TennCare bankrupt our state. This is the option of last resort.â€
Please contact the White House at 202-456-1111 (FAX: 202-456-2461, TTY/TDD 202-456-6213) and/or send them an email by using the form provided on the White House web site at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/. There is no time to waste.