Skip to main content

See also:

The skewed priorities of TennCare

They don't care about my sick child
Catherine Hill

Now we are learning more about the ‘priorities’ of TennCare Director Darin J. Gordon. According to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press , these ‘priorities’ (whatever they may be) have prevented parents of new babies with serious problems from getting health care to pay for the special care they need. Moreover, these problems magically appeared with the Affordable Care Act. Could it be that our state officials really do not want this liberating program for ordinary citizens to succeed?

Up until January 1, state officials were present at every hospital to help new parents process temporary applications. After January 1, these unfortunate parents were referred to the healthcare.gov site, which, according to Tricia Brooks of the Center for Children and Families at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, WAS NEVER INTENDED TO PERFORM THAT FUNCTION. (Babies do not have the Social Security Numbers necessary to interact with healthcare.gov.) TennCare officials state they have “chosen to focus on other priorities in complying with the Affordable Care Act.”

“State officials also say they are taking time to create a system that will not put taxpayers on the hook for coverage that may not be necessary.” God forbid the State of Tennessee should pay for anything that is not absolutely necessary!

This tender concern for taxpayers’ money seems contradictory for hard-hearted TennCare. The 18,000 baby cases resolved by pressure from the Tennessee Justice Center and others also involved taxpayers – and their dangerously ill babies. “On every single call, I told them what was wrong with him. They knew how serious it was,” remembered mother Mindy Morgan. The situation is equally serious for more than a quarter of a million Tennessee citizens who may lose access to primary care if 80 Community Health Centers in the state close, as is possible next year.

TennCare Director Darin J. Gordon’s expertise is in the budget, finance, and administration area of Medicaid, as is fitting for an appointee of a governor who wants to make sure the poor ‘have some skin in the game’. Neither of them ever seem to have walked a hospital ward or visited the waiting room of a community clinic.