The “Cold Feet Caucus” of those GOP legislators who have doubts about Gov. Bill Haslam’s Obamacare/medicaid Expansion scheme is growing by the hour.
The powerful Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Randy McNally, has initiated potentially the most serious threat to the governor’s plan by questioning the legality of the proposal.
McNally has asked for an opinion from the Attorney General and provided a series of complex but well-reasoned legal questions that go straight to one of the biggest problems with the Haslam plan: once you put 200,000 people on the roles, how difficult is it to get them off? (Hint: It ain’t easy — just ask Gov. Phil Bredesen).
McNally even questions the legality of the so-called funding of the state’s portion by Tennessee hospitals. Of course an obvious question is how are the hospitals going to come up with that money. How indeed? (“Sorry, Mrs. Johnson, but that cost of that single Tylenol pill we gave you just increased from $125 to $250….”). Does anyone believe the THA will just eat that additional cost? Does anyone believe they are not planning to pass along their costs to their patients in order to get their hands on all that “free” federal money?
All of these were questions that should have been addressed by the governor before he called a special session. Legislators do not like being put on the spot like this, and that is exactly what Haslam looks like he is trying to do.
Combine McNally’s questions with Sen. Ron Ramsey’s observations and the split in House leadership on the subject, and it appears the governor is going to need every Democrat he can find.
(Chairman Mancini? The governor’s calling on line two…”)