Dean takes aim at Lee over Medicaid expansion

A new ad by Democrat Karl Dean is taking aim at Republican gubernatorial rival Bill Lee over Medicaid expansion.

“I’ve stood next to Bill Lee when he’s been adamantly against expanding medicaid, even though it means more shut down hospitals and higher costs on all of us,” Dean says in the ad.

Dean notes in the spot that Tennessee doesn’t get back the full amount that it pays into the federal Medicaid program.

“I’ll expand Medicaid and bring our tax dollars home,” Dean says.

Here’s the full release from the Dean campaign:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Karl Dean for Governor campaign began airing a new ad today that contrasts Dean’s common-sense support for Medicaid expansion, which Tennesseans’ tax dollars are already paying for in 34 other states, with Republican nominee Bill Lee’s adamant opposition.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the option to expand Medicaid and receive additional federal tax dollars to provide health coverage for people with low incomes, patients with pre-existing conditions and people who are aging. Medicaid expansion would help 300,000 Tennessee residents who now must live without affordable health insurance. Veterans and others with a diagnosis of mental illness are among the most vulnerable citizens affected by the state’s decision in 2015 to reject expansion.

The state could bring in $1.4 billion a year, or about $3.8 million a day, but none of those federal dollars will help Tennesseans live healthier lives until the state expands Medicaid. Meanwhile, nearly three dozen other states have already expanded their Medicaid programs with the help of Tennessee taxpayers.

“Imagine burning $3.8 million every day,” Dean says in the ad, which is airing statewide. “Well, Tennessee’s been doing that for years. Right now our tax dollars go to Washington to help other states pay for health care. Your governor should fix problems like this. I’ll expand Medicaid and bring our tax dollars home.”

Without Medicaid expansion, 11 rural hospitals across the state have closed or announced plans to shut down, and the state has lost a key weapon in the fight against the opioid crisis. But Dean’s opponent, Bill Lee, adamantly opposes Medicaid expansion.

“We can fix this,” Dean says in the ad. “It’s just common sense.”

Dean, a former two-term mayor of Nashville, will hold a roundtable discussion Tuesday in McKenzie, Tenn., with citizens concerned about the scheduled closure of McKenzie Regional Hospital later this month. The event will be held at the McKenzie Industrial Board office, 89 Bruce St.

Dean’s television ads continue to support his commitment to keeping his campaign focused on the issues that matter most to Tennesseans. Dean has held five town square events across the state since the Democratic primary. He also has accepted invitations to more than 20 debates and forums during the general election campaign and looks forward to the three debates Lee has agreed to. It is important that Tennesseans have a chance to hear how both candidates plan to address access to affordable, quality healthcare.

12 Responses to Dean takes aim at Lee over Medicaid expansion

  • Tennessee Jed says:

    We have a terrible health care system. A lot of changes are needed. But we are stuck with what we got. And in the current system, it is absolutely asinine for a state to not expand medicaid covereage. It is cutting off the nose to spite the face level idiocy. Until there is change in Washington, I can’t see how a rationally-acting governor / legislature would choose otherwise. Non-expansion has simply been a political game played to prevent your primary opponent from tying you to Obamacare with well-written attack ads that prey on low-information voters.

  • William Upton says:

    Medicaid is welfare. We don’t need to expand welfare, Obama did enough of that. Jobs are plentiful now and everyone who needs health insurance should be able to get it. I don’t know what all the answers are to the problems with health care, but expanding welfare is not the answer.

  • Eddie White says:

    Karl Dean will not be Tennessee’s next governor and for various reasons I am happy that he will not be. That being said, I think he makes a very credible point on expanding Medicaid. It will help the rural hospitals in this state that need the support.

  • David Collins says:

    Just because jobs are plentiful does not mean that every employer offering a job is also providing health insurance. Besides that, many of our neighbors who need Medicaid coverage are physically unable to work but they still need health care. Plus, even though “jobs may be plentiful”, the amount paid in many of these “plentiful” jobs is not enough for a wage earner to afford private health insurance and feed, clothe and otherwise take care of his family. The money has already been paid into the pot. It makes no sense not to get as much of it back as possible.

    • MarLE says:

      There is no Medicaid POT! The source for Medicaid is about 1/2 from the 50% of Americans who pay the Federal Income Tax and about 1/2 from the State. There is no pot into which it has been paid.

      • Tennessee Jed says:

        The expansion through ACA works on a different split than the rest of the program. I believe right now it is a 90 federal / 10 state split with it dropping to 80/20 in a few years.

        You are right. There is no magic pot. Taxpayers are paying for this. By not expanding, TN taxpayers are still paying the taxes but receive zero of the benefits. Instead they go to all the states that expanded. I don’t know about you, but if I have to pay taxes, I sure as hell don’t want it going to NY, CA, or those inbreds to the north in Kentucky. KEEP MY MONEY HERE!

        • Bob Fischer says:

          Taxpayers pay for healthcare one way or another. We can accept ACA money and recirculate it to help all of us by returning our federal tax dollars to our state, or we can send those tax dollars to West Virginia and beyond and just pay for reduced services with increased insurance premiums, for those lucky enough to get them. It’s not about whether or not we will pay, its about to whom and how much.

      • David Collins says:

        I didn’t mean a “pot” like in a poker game. I meant that the taxes had already been paid into the govt. at either the federal or state level. So maybe I should have used the term “account” or “earmark”. It really doesn’t matter what you call it. The funding comes from taxpayers from sourced from either the feds or the state. Tennessee Jed is correct. It makes no sense to refuse to expand and have that federal money go to another state. We are cutting off our nose to spite our face when we do that.

        • MarLE says:

          There are no “earmarked” funds for Medicaid. No one paid into Medicaid as they do for Soc Sec or MediCARE. Half comes from the State, raised either by sales, state income or other tax revenues of the State. There is no “designated pot”. It is taken from general revenue. The half provided by the Feds….It is taken from the general revenue of the federal goverenment, funded by the income tax (not a separate fund, account or “pot” as is SS or medicaid) which is paid by the roughly 50% of Americans who actually Pay the Federal Income tax.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Karl Marx Dean is insane At least he won’t get elected

  • Donna Locke says:

    I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day, but you could look up birth tourists and births to illegal aliens and see where billions of Medicaid dollars have been going.

    Meanwhile, my daughter, who lives in Atlanta, just got an $800 bill, and there will be more, from a Maury County ER visit after my 5-year-old grandson walked near a bumblebee nest and got 75 to 80 stings. I got 8 stings trying to get the bees off him. My daughter got 12. “Out of network,” her insurance company said.

    I didn’t seek any treatment for myself. I’ve already had experience with “out of network” ER doctors. I put ice and calamine lotion on mine.

    • MarLE says:

      Just wait til we see Marsha’s solution for MediCare solvency. Her site says that SS and Medicare will be insolvent within a decade but her follow on sentence says we have to Block Grant Medicaid. How is that a solution? Next she says we will “have to stabililze these programs for younger workers and Review Eligibility Requirements”……Translation: Means test those who have been prudent out of or for reduced benefits. Medicare already means tests the program through much higher premiums for the same coverage based on income, 3X higher for the barely wealthy. So I hope someone asks her point blank what, exactly, those words on her website will mean in terms of legislation she intends to go up there in her attempt to stabilize SS and Medicare.

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