Governor Baby is Mad at Sick Poor People

I swear, I may need to take a vacation from reading about our governor, because when I read shit like this, it makes me almost dizzy with rage. “Low-income recipients of care — and for that matter, consumers in general — don’t have ‘enough economic skin in the game, if you will,’ said Haslam.” The leading cause of bankruptcy in this country is medical bills and Haslam thinks consumers in general don’t have enough economic skin in the game?

I have great health insurance, the kind of health insurance that causes people to take jobs they hate at my employer and keep jobs they hate at my employer (though I am very fortunate to have a job I love to go with that great health insurance) and the cost of it still goes up considerably ever year. One year, no one got raises and health insurance went up, thus giving us all defacto pay cuts. That sure as fuck felt like economic skin in the game. Today, I was at Walgreens and a woman had to get a prescription for something that was going to cost her $30 and she spontaneously burst into tears when the pharmacist said, “$30” and she had to take a minute to regroup and explain that she really needed the prescription but she didn’t have that kind of money. Luckily, there was a generic that was $10, but until Governor Haslam is standing there watching a woman embarrassed to her core at bursting out in tears over $30, maybe he should keep his mouth shut about ‘economic skin in the game.’

This is a problem with our aspirational society and how our political system is set up to ease millionaires into office. Governor Haslam has no idea that he’s been sheltered from the economic realities of people’s medical care. After all, there are bootstrappers around him–like Ron Ramsey–and if they can make it, anyone can make it. Well, fine. But knowing some people who used to be poor and working class really is not the same as understanding poor and working class people.

And our medical care system is fucked. But “people need to just use less of it” in a country where Baby Boomers are getting older is a joke. Old people have to go to the doctor, a lot.

Or do poor people and working class people not deserve to get old? To have old relatives?

I swear, Haslam should spend his summer living in a working class neighborhood in Nashville. It would do him some good.

20 thoughts on “Governor Baby is Mad at Sick Poor People

  1. he should live for a month in one of these hi rise places for elderly and disabled and try to live on 800 per month income

  2. Bravo. Nothing more to say.

    (Except, if you want a new dartboard picture, somebody posted a great pic of Haslam in his Webb private school track uniform on FB. He’s begging for it.)

  3. I’m gonna kinda play devil’s advocate here for a minute–even though I think Haslam is pitifully out of touch with the reality of daily life for most Tennesseans.

    I use a LOT of medical insurance. We are very blessed to have great insurance for the first time and it’s a good thing, given my condition. But damn. We got an itemized bill last month. A “regular office visit” to the Rheumatologist who manages my worst conditions is steep for us just considering the copay. But now Vandy changed its billing policy; long story short we now get itemised bilks showing the actual cost.


    For an office visit and routine liver panel.

    I had no idea.

    So i can see how if you are the insurer and you look at the raw numbers, my copay is less than 10% of the total bill. So it looks like I dont have as much skin in the game. If you weigh it as “I pay 8%, they pay 92%”

    HOWEVER, what I think Haslam is missing is that the % of my total assets versus the % of the insurer’s total assets is much, much larger. That copay is 15% of my weekly living money, whereas the $600 is something like one-thousandth of a percent of the insurance co.’s operating budget for that same week.

  4. Oh, don’t even get me started on THIS. My [acquaintance–sorry, folks, I get nervous about identifying people in ways that may cause their insurance company to get mad at them] was telling me last week about how she needs this piece of medical equipment. With insurance, she had to pay, I think, $800 and her itemized bill showed that this was like half of the actual cost.

    She went online and discovered that the MSRP for the equipment is $750.

    Which is just, I think, evidence that there are serious problems all along the medical chain.

  5. Governor’s spokesbot claims Haslam was referring to his “personal responsibility” initiative in Knoxville which basically incentivized people to do things like quit smoking and eat healthy and exercise (I dunno, I’m just quoting what he said …) … though what that has to do with “economic skin in the game’ I have no clue.

  6. And one more thing on the insurance front: we changed insurance this year, still BCBS-TN, basically still the same plan, we just went from an HSA to an HRA cuz of changes at husband’s work. I was told we shouldn’t notice any change at all really, except we now have vision coverage. Whoopie!

    Except that my prescription has now gone up $15 every month. I was told they have a different deal for this scrip with CVS and maybe if I bought it at Walgreen’s it would be cheaper.

    I mean, fuckitall. Who has the time to call around to every damn pharmacy in town to find where this particular drug is cheapest? We’re talking about a static thing here, people: a drug that is THE VERY SAME no matter where you buy it. We’re not talking apples or strawberries that might be mushy at one store or fresh and organic somewhere else. We’re talking about a drug that is made at the same fucking plant whether it’s sold at CVS or Walgreens or Kroger or wherever. Why does the cost change depending on my insurance plan or whether I even have insurance?

    And doesn’t this just prove how useless insurance is?

  7. Pingback: txmere · Screw sick people

  8. $597.00

    For an office visit and routine liver panel.

    Yes, but the other problem with this is that US healthcare is vastly more expensive than the same or better healthcare in other countries. Insurers, medical companies and drug companies are in a costs war with no reason to stop.

    For example, a US friend of mine, with insurance, only paid $5 for her antibiotics. The insurance company paid $85. The wholesale cost of exactly the same French-made antibiotics, in Australia, with government bulk-buy negotiation? $8.20 – to the customer, a maximum of $14.80.

    My rheumatologist visit, with liver panel? $120 for the visit (the liver panel was free), of which I got $98 back from the government (their scheduled price for the visit – in urban areas, the doctor probably would have charged me less but I’m in a rural area that the doctor drives out to once a week).

    We all have “skin” in the game because it’s our taxes, and, generally, they’re pretty well spent.

  9. The thing about the “bootstrappers” he knows? Pretty much all of them share three things in common: 1) white; 2) male; 3) came of age in the 1960s and early 1970s. That’s a mix of unarticulated privilege and economic fortuity that most of us don’t share. The working-class now does not have the same opportunities for economic mobility that the working-class forty years ago had. It wasn’t routinely possible then. It’s unlikely now, thanks to dumbass politicians who are eager to pull the ladder up now that they’ve climbed.

  10. I have been that woman crying in the pharmacy. Governor Evil Baby, I work. I haven’t been unemployed for longer than a month in years. You can kiss my expensive to treat ass. My skin in the game is my life. Just like hers. Gaahhh, these evil emeffers.

  11. Bridgett, the best part is that the main bootstrapper he knows–Ron Ramsey–hates him, so any information he’s getting from that source, I’d hope he’d be clever enough to be a little suspect of.

    Sadly, among my many disappointments with our new governor, top is that he’s just not that clever.

    These elite business people who are supposed to swoop in and run our state like a corporation… I swear, if this is how they run their corporations, it’s no wonder we’re in the financial straits we’re in as a country.

  12. We are too used to thinking of finances in absolute, rather than relative, terms. In absolute terms those people have very little skin in the game. In relative terms, they have their whole skin in the game; it’s just that their skin is so small in absolute terms.

    Sometimes relative terms get used. Finland noticed that speeding tickets are supposed to be a punishment for bad behavior. So they indexed the cost of the ticket to the income (or wealth?) of the offender. The CEO of Nokia got a ~$160,000 speeding ticket. That’s totally fair, if you want to punish that man as hard as a $100 speeding ticket punishes someone who makes minimum wage. But try suggesting something like that here, just for the entertainment value of watching heads explode.

  13. I recall reading back around innauguration time that Governor Baby didn’t really run the company. It’s daddy’s company and Governor Baby’s brother is the heir apparent. So the other brother had to go into politics instead.

  14. Further evidence that our healthcare system is totally fucked up:

    My sister used to be on TennCare. She’s on a bunch of potentially expensive meds. After her TennCare ended, she went to Kroger Pharm to pick up a refill. She told them she was no longer insured, so they ran it showing her as “uninsured.” What she paid was LESS THAN her copay on TennCare.

    Nice that the uninsured can get a break at Kroger, but… wtf?

  15. Genia, Ive been offered a medication that costs $2k a month. If i were to take it (i wont, it’s too new and contraindicated with one of my other probs) we would pay $250/mo and insurance would pick up the rest.
    ( talk about skin in the game…thatd be most of the living money –food, gas, clothes–for a week)

    When i talked to the pharma counselor about it I
    expressed a concern regarding what would happen if I lost my health insurance.

    “we have scholarships that cover the cost.”

    A)yes, they call it a scholarship.

    B) how can something go from two thousand dollars to free if they arent just charging all the people who have $2k the $2k price and using that to underwrite the socalled freebies. In other words, socialised medicine is aleady here.

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