Ramsey Proposes Monument to Lives Lost in War for Profitable Tennessee Health Insurance
The monument would stand as a memorial to the thousands of Tennesseans without health insurance who died over the last two years while the state legislature’s GOP Superdupermajority obstructed, showboated, carped and grumbled, all while awaiting Ramsey’s ultimate OK to approve Haslam's "Profitably Insure Tennessee" plan.
The duo made their announcements at a press conference, Ramsey close at Haslam’s side to keep the governor on-script.
"I will call upon our great state's legislators to recognize, with a fitting memorial, those poor, starving, insurance-less Tennesseans who gave their all in the Tennessee Republicans’ two-year war with the federal government to ensure that private insurance companies get their fair share of the federal tax dollars we've been fighting over," Ramsey declared.
"For those who paid the ultimate cost by dying from disease, lack of affordable medications, or overall ill-health during our battle against finally accepting the reality that taking federal Medicaid expansion money was the right thing to do, this Tomb of the Uninsured will be the best and highest honor we can pay them," he continued. “So stop bringing up how many people died for our refusal to expand Medicaid in 2012, OK?"
Ramsey added that dying from preventable conditions because of inadequate health care was "an old fashioned way to die, very 19th-century," and that "those Tennesseans who did so over the last two years won the hearts of all of us who value the bedrock conservative principle of doing things in antiquated ways."
After paying tribute to those who fell in the GOP health-care war, Tennessee's leaders turned their attention to the remaining living Tennesseans that the Profitably Insure Tennessee plan might still help. Besides funneling federal health insurance funds through private insurance companies, thus incentivizing insurance providers with a profit motive, a "Healthy Outcomes Rewards Program” will be offered through the plan to incentivize insurance buyers.
One of Haslam's goals is to give the Profitably Insure Tennessee plan a “personality responsibility” component, so the Healthy Outcomes Rewards Program grants insurance recipients points for doing healthy things like not smoking, not drinking too much, not eating too much and not dying from preexisting conditions.
These points may be redeemed for Healthy Outcomes Rewards cards, which can be used at local convenience stores to purchase cigarettes, beer and Twinkies.
To explain the healthy outcomes program objectives, Haslam fell back on one his favorite, folksy-sounding phrases: "skin in the game."
"With the Healthy Outcomes Rewards Program element of our Privately Insure Tennessee plan our poor, uninsured citizens will finally have skin in the game, which is a metaphor for something, although I’m not really sure what,” Haslam explained. “Honestly, we don’t want to use poor folks’ skin for a game because that would be gross, even macabre, not to mention demeaning-“
Ramsey interrupted Haslam, saying, “No, no, we don’t want anyone’s skin, not when Tennessee’s regressive tax structure already has stripped everything from the poor, right down to the shirts off their backs. But maybe, Gov. Haslam, you could return to the Healthy Outcomes Rewards Program?”
Haslam followed the real governor’s suggestion, saying, "Rewarding people with shiny trinkets for maintaining their health will lower the state's health-care costs, because the fabulous prizes available through the Healthy Outcomes Rewards Program give Tennesseans real incentive to stay healthy, and to truly have skin in-“
Again, Ramsey interrupted Haslam, this time concluding the press conference by explaining his next steps.
"Once we’ve guaranteed that affordable health care is available to all Tennesseans … well, most Tennesseans … or, well, let’s just say a lot of Tennesseans … except those who don't qualify," he stammered before trailing off; but he soon resumed his remarks. "I'll start over. Once we get people off our backs with this grudging nod to the reality of living in the 21st century, when affordable health care should be available to all, we can return to dragging Tennessee back to the 19th century, where the working class has little chance to prosper. But at least they’ll have some health-care options when they fail."— Scott McNutt, Mocksville Reporter
From API Bulletins.