Okay, okay. So Wayne Smith, CEO of Community Health Systems, didn’t explicitly tell state lawmakers to lie. But he made it pretty clear he wouldn’t hold it against them if, when it came to Medicare expansion, they prevaricate, obfuscate, mislead or bait & switch the voters until after this fall’s elections.
Medicare expansion has become a bloody shirt for the Dems and a classic example of Gov. Haslam’s tendency to equivocate and second guess on just about every major issue. Mr. Smith’s support for Medicare expansion (which would deliver millions in taxpayer dollars into his company) is well known. Here is Mr. Smith’s expert political assessment:
The Nashville CEO of a prominent hospital chain says Tennessee’s more apt to expand Medicare after elections this fall.
In a call with investors on Wednesday, Community Health Systems CEO Wayne Smith said there are a number of states where Republicans fear Medicare expansion could be used as a weapon against them.
Smith says they’re concerned the Tea Party “could knock ‘em off.” He continued: “And it will be much more acceptable once you get through this mid-term election.”
Rules for CEO’s: Rule #1 — “Don’t invite reporters to listen to conference calls where you might be recording saying something stupid.” Wayne probably didn’t think anyone would read his inane comments. After all, they only appeared on NPR — not exactly the favorite radio station of the Republican Super Majorioty.
And, of course, the liberal NPR couldn’t resist piling on:
About 175,000 low-income Tennesseans are estimated to be eligible for coverage under the expansion. The federal government would bear almost all of the cost.
That is skirting pretty close to an outright lie. The federal government would only pick up 90% of the cost for the first 3 years, with states effectively locked in for long past the initial three years. After that, the feds have “promised” to continue the 90-10 split. To that promise we offer another promise:
“If you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance.”
By pontificating on the politics of the issue, Mr. Smith turned himself into a one-man death panel for the future of Medicare expansion. After this, we can’t imagine too many legislators switching their votes — before OR after the election.