Alexander Says New Health Care Proposal Includes “Huge” Costs to Tennessee

Says Bill Means Higher Taxes or Higher Tuitions for Tennessee to Pay $1.4 Billion Projected Cost to State

Posted on December 9, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate: • “I remember as governor some years ago in Tennessee that nothing used to make me madder than Washington politicians who’d come up with a big idea, take credit for it, hold a press conference to announce it—calling it, for example, ‘historic’—and then send the bill to me, the governor, to pay. Then usually these same politicians would come back to Tennessee and they’d make a big speech at the Jefferson Day dinner or the Jackson Day dinner about the importance of local control.” • “The fact is, after three years the federal government sends a huge new bill to Tennessee. The fact is, the governor of Tennessee, who is a Democrat, says it will cost Tennessee over $700 million over five years, or $1.4 billion if we expand Medicaid as much as this proposal would.” • “And if the state pays a big part of the bill, that means a big state tax increase. It means big college tuition increases. And I guarantee that if this happens, there will be a revolt in the states, and people will ask who did this. In fact, I would say, seriously, that any senator who votes to expand Medicaid and send a significant part of the bill to the states ought to be sentenced to go home and be governor and try to govern the state under those conditions.” • “Such a dramatic increase in the expansion of Medicaid would be a damaging blow to American public higher education from which it will never recover. Tuitions will rise to a level where only the rich can afford to go to school. Public higher education will be left aside all because Washington politicians pushed this legislation through, took the credit, made an announcement and sent a huge bill to state governments who are struggling with their worst fiscal condition since the Great Depression.”