Alexander: “New Health Care Bill Even Worse News for Tennessee Taxpayers, College Students”

Says bill transfers $1.1 billion in new TennCare costs to state taxpayers, overcharges more than 200,000 Tennessee students on their loans to help pay for health care bill

Posted on March 19, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today that the changes in the health care bill released by House Democrats on Friday are “even worse news for Tennessee taxpayers and college students.”  

“Governor Bredesen has already told us that the Senate health care bill will add $1 billion in costs to TennCare over five years,” Alexander said. “The TennCare office estimates that the House’s changes would increase those costs to $1.1 billion—possibly as high as $1.5 billion. That would mean an annual cost to the state of $220 million to $300 million per year.” 

“Because of the explosive growth of Medicaid, most of these new costs will inevitably fall on higher education,” said Alexander, who was governor of Tennessee and president of the University of Tennessee.    

“Gov Bredesen’s proposed budget for higher education for 2010-2011 reduces funding by $43 million for higher education, bringing the total reduction to $277 million over the past three years. The new cuts imposed by the health care bill can only be offset by new taxes, larger tuition increases, a decrease in the quality of the education offered, or serving fewer students—or a combination of all of these.” 

“The most outrageous addition to the health care bill is the Washington takeover of the student loan program. Nineteen million students will now go to four federal call centers to get their loans, instead of to 2,000 community banks and non-profit lenders. This will add a half trillion dollars to the federal debt and throw 31,000 people out of work. Worst of all, the government will use $9.1 billion of the ‘savings’ from this takeover to help pay for the health care bill. Specifically, in Tennessee, the federal government will be overcharging 200,000 students on their loans in order to help pay for the health care bill.”