Search for...
OnTheIssuesLogo

Don Sundquist on Health Care

Former Republican TN Governor


We must save TennCare, for children & the needy

Thanks to our TennCare program, more children are being immunized. More women seek and get prenatal care. Infant mortality is at an all-time low. Fewer people are being treated in hospital emergency rooms.

We were the first state to make health care available to every child. Thatís a commitment we need to keep. Itís not just children who depend on TennCare. Itís our neighbors, our friends and our families who wouldnít have health insurance any other way. And for every dollar that goes to care for these people, the state pays only 18 cents. TennCare must be saved.

Let me speak very plainly. If TennCare fails, our only real alternative is to drop 350,000 Tennesseans who canít get basic, affordable health insurance. We would do our best to continue to cover our children. But we would shift to a stripped-down, managed-care program for our federally mandated Medicaid population. We will not go to a fee-for-service arrangement. Thatís a bad alternative, and itís not my choice.

Source: State of the State Address to Tennessee legislature Jan 29, 2001

No federal pre-emption of employee health plan regulation.

Sundquist adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

In 1999, 42.6 million Americans did not have health insurance. All states have been fervently working to reduce the number of uninsured Americans, to make health insurance more affordable and secure, and to provide quality health care at a reasonable cost to the uninsured. However, the federal government has also expressed an interest in this issue. Any action taken at the federal level could have serious implications for traditional state authority to regulate the health insurance industry and protect consumers.

NGAís Position

Although the Governors are extremely sensitive to the concerns of large multi-state employers, the fact remains that the complete federal preemption of state laws relating to employee health plans in the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is the greatest single barrier to many state reform and patient protection initiatives.

The Governors support efforts designed to enable small employers to join together to participate more effectively in the health insurance market. In fact, Governors have taken the lead in facilitating the development of such partnerships and alliances. However, these partnerships must be carefully structured and regulated by state agencies in order to protect consumers and small businesses from fraud and abuse and underinsurance. NGA opposes attempts to expand federal authority under ERISA. The Governors have identified the prevention of such federal legislation in the 107th Congress as a top legislative priority.

States have the primary responsibility for health insurance regulation. Across the nation, Governors are working to protect consumers and patients and to properly regulate the complicated health insurance industry.

Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA13 on Oct 5, 2001

Protect state tobacco settlement funds from federal seizure.

Sundquist adopted a letter to Congressional leaders from 53 Governors:

As you know, preserving and protecting the state tobacco settlement funds is the nationís Governorsí highest priority. We strongly urge you to reach final agreement and pass the conference report on the emergency supplemental appropriations bill soon, and to retain the Senate provision that protects our settlement funds from federal seizure.

Many of our state legislatures are currently in session, and some have already completed work on their budgets. Therefore, it is critical that conferees reach agreement quickly on this issue. Governors are unified in their commitment to ensuring that the funds remain in the states and that there be no restrictions on statesí ability to tailor spending to meet the needs of their citizens.

We offer our strongest support for conferees to recede to the Senate version of the bill containing the Hutchison/Graham bipartisan tobacco recoupment protection legislation.

Source: National Governor's Association letter to Congress 99-NGA31 on Apr 14, 1999

Other governors on Health Care: Don Sundquist on other issues:
AK Frank Murkowski
AL Bob Riley
AR Mike Huckabee
AZ Janet Napolitano
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
CO Bill Owens
CT Jodi Rell
DE Ruth Ann Minner
FL Jeb Bush
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
IA Tom Vilsack
ID Dirk Kempthorne
IL Rod Blagojevich
IN Mitch Daniels
KS Kathleen Sebelius
KY Ernie Fletcher
LA Kathleen Blanco
MA Mitt Romney
MD Bob Ehrlich
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
MN Tim Pawlenty
MO Matt Blunt
MS Haley Barbour
MT Brian Schweitzer
NC Mike Easley
ND John Hoeven
NE Dave Heineman
NH John Lynch
NJ Jon Corzine
NM Bill Richardson
NV Kenny Guinn
NY George Pataki
OH Bob Taft
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Don Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
TX Rick Perry
UT Jon Huntsman
VA Tim Kaine
VT Jim Douglas
WA Christine Gregoire
WI Jim Doyle
WV Joe Manchin III
WY Dave Freudenthal
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty