In an article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Governor Phil Bredesen is quoted about the current healthcare debate in Congress and President Obama’s reported decision to shift priorities to job creation:

“I think it had gotten a little off track, with the public being very, very concerned about the economy and jobs and the prospect of losing jobs, and the Congress off designing health reform to take place in the latter part of the next decade,”

This is relatively unsurprising considering the Governor’s past as a health insurance executive and his previous statements regarding the bills currently before Congress.

What is surprising is that the Governor, a Democrat, would find something positive in the Senate’s recent loss of a Democratic super-majority. I don’t care how “liberal” a Republican Scott Brown claims to be, it’s not a “good thing” for the party or the millions of people who are both currently without healthcare, or those who are in danger of losing their healthcare.

What I don’t get is why Governor Bredesen doesn’t see the imapct that Healthcare has on the job market or the economy at large. GM’s bankruptcy was due, in large part, to the weight of decisions about providing healthcare for it’s employees that were made decades ago, when insurance was a much smaller part of the economy.

In 2006, heathcare consumed 16% of the nation’s economic output. That’s a huge segment of the economy, and the costs effect the availability of jobs negatively. Even though employers have been shifting much of the burden on employees, most can ill afford the rising costs that are outpacing inflation at an alarming rate.

By focusing on healthcare, the Congress and President Obama WERE focusing on the economy and jobs. In fact, they were focusing on one of the most out of control parts of the economy.

Think about it like this. Few would argue that we live in a global economy. Most industrialized nations have some sort of national healthcare strategy. If we are to COMPETE on a global scale, we cannot expect our businesses to carry the load of out of control healthcare costs.

Both the House and Senate bills have a means to control costs, though in very different ways.

To be honest, I don’t give a DAMN which one gets passed, but it is critical that something get passed to slow down the rising cost of healthcare now. Not only for the health and welfare of our people, but also for the health and welfare of our economy.

That Phil Bredesen doesn’t see this just baffles me.

As Rep. Jeanne Richardson (D-89, Memphis) noted:

“I think the Democrats need to do whatever they need to get health care reform passed. Period. The end,” she said.

Rep. Richardson said having the U.S. House pass the U.S. Senate bill is “the right thing to do. I mean, look, this state is cutting quadriplegics out of TennCare.”

Maybe it’s not so baffling. Any administration that can propose to cut quadriplegics off TennCare, and any legislative body that thinks that’s ok, obviously has some kind of serious problem.

I guess they just don’t get it. From the looks of it, they never will.

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