TN Gov. Signs Health Care Bill

June 13, 2006 ( - Tennessee Governor Phil Bresden signed Cover Tennessee, a health care bill aimed at the state's 600,000-plus uninsured workers, according to the Associated Press.

In the plan, the state would pay $50, employers have the option to contribute, and employees pay the rest of the $150 per month premium, according to Bredesen’s March 27 speech about Cover Tennessee. Bredesen also said that prices will be adjusted by age as well as for health problems. However, it will not cover serious illnesses.

Bredesen proposed what he called “practical insurance” as well – generic drug benefits for $10, routine doctor visits for $25 and emergency room and hospital care “with limits.”

According to the AP, the state expects 100,000 adults, 75,000 children and 15,000 “chronically ill” residents to enroll within the next three years, and most people who make at least $24,500 or $50,000 for a family of four – less than 2.5 times the federal income level – would be eligible for the insurance.

Bredesen said he thinks the plan will go into effect in early 2007. Although he hopes at least two insurance companies will offer coverage, none have yet been confirmed.

In other parts of the country, the Massachusetts Senate voted to fine employers that did not provide health insurance (See Mass. Senate Votes To Fine Employers Not Providing Health Insurance ), Vermont’s Legislature recently passed a bill with the intent to provide health care to 90% or 95% of the state (See VT Health Care Reform Moves Forward ) and Michigan’s governor introduced a universal health care to cover all 1.1 million residents who are currently uninsured (See   MI’s Granholm Joins Health Reform Trend).