My Definition of Civic Depravity

 Consulting the dictionary, I find that 'civic' is defined as an adjective 'denoting of matters pertaining to citizenship.'

Now I flip to the entry for 'depravity' and find that it is a noun defined as the state of being depraved. Reading further, I find that 'depraved' is defined as being 'morally corrupt or evil.'  

In my lexicon, therefore, 'civic depravity' is an act that is morally corrupt and evil which is perpetrated in regard to one's responsibility for both the common and individual welfare of the citizens of a state.  


Getting down to specifics, let's look at Governor Haslam's refusal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee.  I consider his refusal to do so an act of civic depravity.  

I give you my reasons now: 

1)  161,000 adults in Tennessee with low or no income who would have qualified for Medicaid under the expansion will have NO health insurance because of his decision.  They are the unfortunate ones, people who fall into the so called 'gap' in the Affordable Care Act.  They don't qualify for tax credits to help pay for private insurance but they can't qualify for Medicaid either. They're barred from the entire (both public and private) health insurance system.  In other words, they're out of luck.

2)  6 BILLION dollars of federal funds that would have flowed into Tennessee via an expanded Medicaid between 2014 and 2019 will NOT be flowing into our state. That's right.  The governor has turned down 6 billion in federal dollars.  Divvy that 6 billion dollars up by our state's nearly 6,400,00 residents and guess what: that makes every single Tennessean (man, woman and child) nearly one thousand dollars…out of luck.

3)  Hold on to your hats.  Economically, the news gets even better.  Because of Governor Haslam's failure to expand Medicaid, Tennessee employers are going to be footing a bigger tax bill.  How much bigger? 

 A whole LOT bigger!


 According to Jackson Hewitt, Gov. Haslam's decision is going to cost Tennessee companies between $48 million and $72 million in 2015.  Here's why.  There is a 'shared responsibility' clause in the Affordable Care Act which penalizes employers if even one of their employees qualifies for a subsidy to purchase insurance on the insurance exchanges.  In other words, low income employees who would have qualified for Medicaid under the expansion, will still be able to apply for a tax credit on the exchanges and when they do, they will AUTOMATICALLY trigger a penalty for their employer.  And the amount of that penalty is not trivial either.  

Employers are going to be penalized between $2,000 and $3,000 thousand per person for every one of their employees who qualifies for the tax credit on the private insurance exchanges.

Uh oh. 

I wonder if our pro business governor reckoned on that.  In fact, I'm wondering how much HIS company, Pilot Oil and Gas, will pay in 'shared responsibility' penalties.  

Governor Haslam is, by the way, a Republican.


Did you know that exactly half of the states have not opted into the Medicaid expansion? That's right, 25 out of 50 states have not said 'yes' to the expansion.  Do you think it's a coincidence that every single one of those states is headed by a Republican governor?  

It doesn't take a genius to connect the dots.  It's got to be political.  I think Governor Haslam has thrown 161,000 Tennesseans under the bus just to pander to the hard right wing of the Republican party.   

After all, the decision not to expand Medicaid makes no economic sense in our state, either for employers or employees. (It's bad management!)


But Gov. Haslam's disregard for the welfare of low income Tennesseans goes beyond poor management.  It is reckless and hard hearted to deny health care to real people, people who will worry and suffer more, and yes, die at a higher rate than necessary, because Governor Haslam has effectively barred them from accessing the health care system.  


In my book, Governor Haslam's refusal to expand Medicaid makes him guilty of what I call 'civic depravity.'  It is a morally corrupt and evil act that is detrimental both to the welfare of the state as a whole and to 161,000 low income individuals who are not abstractions, but rather, REAL people: our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, our fellow Tennesseans.   


Just my opinion. Take what you like and leave the rest.


Be well and good luck,

Martha Maria    

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