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PNS Daily Newscast - September 25, 2020 

Democrats reported to be preparing a smaller pandemic relief package; vote-by-mail awaits a court decision in Montana.

2020Talks - September 25, 2020 

Senators respond to President Donald Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. And, former military and national security officials endorse Joe Biden.

TN Asks: If Not Health Care Reform...Then What?

February 1, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - TennCare provides health care for all Tennesseans not currently covered by insurance providers, but the program continues to be a financial drain on the state's tax coffers and experts says the problem is only going to get worse. The effort to provide universal health care continues to challenge lawmakers, who are required by the state's constitution to balance the budget.

The executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center, Gordon Bonnyman, says the size and scope of the problem is too big to ignore, and in his view it's not a problem the U.S. Congress can kick down the road, either.

"I think you have to always ask the question 'What is the alternative if we don't pass reform?' We know, based on the Congressional Budget Office and neutral economists, that the rising cost of health care is going to bankrupt the state."

Bonnyman says TennCare is underfunded, and will continue to be, unless the federal health care system undergoes some reform.

"The experience in Tennessee tells us that, unless there is a national solution to what is a national problem, the state's efforts are probably not going to be successful, and it will be hard to maintain any gains over time."

Critics of the current plans in Congress say they will be expensive for taxpayers and don't do enough to rein in medical costs or insurance companies. But Bonnyman says dozens of people seek his help every day, for denial of health insurance coverage or advice on how to pay exorbitant medical bills. He points out that both types of problems would likely be solved with national health care reform.

There's more information at

Randy O'Brien, Public News Service - TN