Saving TennCare could mean new taxes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

posted by: Jason Miles, 2/4/05, 9:59 pm

Saving TennCare could mean new taxes

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has made it clear. He wants to cut 322 thousand people from TennCare. That includes 30 thousand in Shelby County alone.

They are people like Steve Solomon. "Well, he's giving us a death sentence," says Solomon. Solomon who is HIV positive, and has been on TennCare since the state health plan's inception.

"Without TennCare, I would have to foot a $22 thousand a year medical bill," says Solomon.

He was one of roomful of enrollees who turned out for a meeting Friday night. It wasn't the first organized to educate people of their options, and won't be the last. And everybody signing in has signed on to help save TennCare.

State Representative Kathryn Bowers is leading the charge. "We just cannot conceive with going along with taking 322 thousand people off TennCare," says Bowers.

Representative Bowers is on a special committee looking at possible solutions. Those solutions include new taxes, like a cigarette tax.

It's just one option she doesn't want to see snuffed out. "If we've got to put a revenue increase in place, then we'll have to do so," says Bowers.

Selling a majority of Tennesseans on new taxes might be difficult. But TennCare enrollees like Marian Bacon are willing to do their part.

"I sometimes go home and cry," says Bacon. It's something she says she'll do a lot more of if cut from TennCare.

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