If given the choice between spending tax dollars on care for Tennessee seniors who need nursing home services or a new $100 million annual tax break for the wealthiest families in our state, which would you choose?
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam told grandma “you’re on your own” and chose to pad the pockets of his fellow millionaires and billionaires.
In a bit of solid reporting from The Tennessean, reporter Tom Wilemon found that 3,000 elderly Tennesseans who need nursing home care cannot get it because of Haslam budget cuts:
Under a program known as TennCare Choices, [some Tennessee seniors] could have selected either a nursing home or intensive at-home support from nurses and other health care providers. But the state, in an effort to curtail costs while meeting the health needs of aging baby boomers, set new rules that create a higher hurdle for families to qualify. Nearly 3,000 people who probably would have been judged to need nursing home care in early 2012 are instead getting only limited home visits.
The story explained in detail the horrific consequences some families and elderly couples are grappling with as a result of the Haslam administration’s decision to cut the nursing home program.
Cuts to programs for the poor and elderly are inevitable when the Republican governor and legislature place tax cuts for the rich and well connected above all else.
In the 2012 vice presidential debate, Joe Biden famously said, “show me your budget and I’ll tell you what your priorities are.”
Instead of strengthening healthcare security for elderly Tennesseans and working families, Haslam and the Republican majority prioritized tax breaks for millionaires and budget-busting handouts for business pals.
Our economy grows strongest, not from the top-down, but from the middle-out and bottom-up.
Multimillion dollar tax breaks for Haslam and his wealthy friends undermine our economic future. As do skyrocketing out-of-pocket healthcare costs for some of our grandparents.
Ironically, the name of the nursing home program Haslam cut is “Choices.”
Tennessee seniors should remember this and choose anything but Haslam and his severe Republican majority come November.