Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN) and Rep. Phil Roe (TN) published at piece today at Real Clear Politics, regarding the failure of TennCare, a medicaid program created in 1994 for the state of Tennessee. See the following excerpt:
Tennessee was home to a failed attempt at universal single payer care, and has lessons to teach a President who has promised that in pursuing his goal of universal health care, he will learn from the policy failures of the past. In 1994 Tennessee implemented managed care in its Medicaid program, creating a system known as TennCare. The objective was to use the anticipated savings from Medicaid to fund and expand coverage for children and the uninsured. The result was a program that nearly bankrupted the state, reduced the quality of care, and collapsed under its own weight.
The genesis of TennCare has many parallels to the situation in which we find ourselves today. It was a public option plan designed to save money and expand coverage. In the early 1990s, Tennessee was facing rising costs in its Medicaid program. TennCare was designed to replace Mediaid with managed care and use the promised savings to expand coverage. By 1998, TennCare swelled to cover 1.2 million people. Private business dropped coverage for employees and forced them onto state rolls. By 2002 enrollment had swelled to 1.4 million people and forced Tennessee's Governor to raise taxes and ultimately propose an entirely new state income tax to cover the unforeseen costs. Governor Bredesen was ultimately forced to dramatically restructure a program he has since called "a disaster". By 2006 Bredesen had disenrolled nearly 200,000 people and slashed benefits.