17,000,000 and some change was passed before we ever got to the regular agenda. Some of this was crack money, some of this was General Obligation Funds, ALL of it comes from taxpayers and that's all that really matters. Without the crack money, I think our local system of governance would collapse. Thank goodness the printing press will go on forever...oh wait...it won't go on forever? Not to worry. By the time that happens, no one will be in any position to figure out the scam of robbing Peter the taxpayer to pay Paul the parasite so we can have things like the Emotional Fitness Center of Tn ...who could be against that? Well me, but that's a whole other blog post and I'm running on empty here...so...moving on...
The ordinance to amend the Shelby County Code of Ordinances, Chapter 2, Art. IV, Section 2-230, entitled, prevailing wages and benefits, to comply with state statutes passed on 3rd reading. Hallelujah! Both passed without drama. Didn't see that coming, but I'll take it.
The resolution supporting the expansion of Medicaid in Tn failed ! Yes, it failed! This item was part of a bigger legislative agenda for the commission's goals in 2015. There is a lot of pressure being applied to the states that did not expand Medicare. Don't believe me, google" states not expanding Medicare hurting rural hospitals" and you will be bombarded with pages and pages of how the evil red states that didn't expand Medicare are causing rural hospitals to close. This was one of the reasons Commissioner Roland wanted this resolution to pass. If these rural hospitals close, these citizens would have to seek care in the big cities like Memphis and add to the already overburdened budgets of the big cities.
There's one big problem with that premise. There is more than one reason that rural hospitals are closing and it has do with the same reason some businesses are finding it hard to survive. REGULATIONS! It's not all about money. Well, yes it is in the sense that complying with regulations cost money and time.
I was prepared to speak on this issue to point out that expanding Medicaid will not solve the problem of rural hospitals closing. Colorado and Kentucky both expanded Medicaid. Kentucky is closing one of their major rural hospitals and Colorado is on the brink of closing several rural hospitals. They expanded Medicaid, so what's the problem? Well, in Kentucky, there is a new regulation under the Unaffordable Care Act that deals with hospitals discharging patients. If the hospital readmits them within 30 days, the hospitals incurs a financial penalty. This is a problem for all states, but for Kentucky, it's closing a major hospital in Nicholson County. In Colorado, the expansion of so many on Medicaid means lower and slower reimbursements for care. This slower reimbursement for care is hurting rural hospitals who don't have other means to keep going.
Another big regulation that is hurting rural hospitals is the requirement that their records be electronic. That costs money and time. You want to save rural hospitals, then waive the regulations...don't even worry about the expansion of Medicaid...it's the regulations stupid!
We are being sold a bill of goods here. The ACA is destroying healthcare as we know it and instead of repealing this act, the Republicans are talking about tweaking it. There is a concerted effort here to pressure the states who didn't expand Medicaid to do this now because, otherwise, the ACA will continue to fall apart and destroy out current healthcare system. Wasn't that the whole point, to fundamentally transform our country? Well, healthcare was one way they could do that and despite what a lot of Republicans believe, these problems like rural hospitals closing is a feature....not a bug. Hat tip to you guys: expanding Medicaid will solve anything...rural hospitals will close anyway...this will only help the progressives who seek to fundamentally change our country. Don't fall for it.
Commissioner Bailey decided to have an add-on item regarding the same rules change that Darth Basar (Was strangely silent, so disappointing) has wanted ever since he did't get elected chairman. Apparently Bailey was not present at the last committee hearing when the commission decided to send this item to an adhoc committee to debate the rules. Bashar wasn't there either...go figure. IT'S THEIR ISSUE AND THEY CAN'T BE AT THE COMMITTEE MEETING TO DISCUSS IT? Oh well, the camera's aren't on during the committee hearings....something that needs to change.
So, Bailey wants to overrule Chairman Ford again, regarding this add-on item. A simple majority lets this happen and Commissioner Turner notes that at the last committee meeting he had voted to send this to an adhoc committee so it could be debated and since he was on record as having said that, he would not vote to approve the rules change that Bailey was seeking. Another Hallelujah! A man of his word...strangely enough, it does happen.
Vice Chairman Roland noted to Bailey that at the last committee meeting, this item was referred to an adhoc committee. Bailey states that he wasn't aware of this because he wasn't there. Roland states that well, that's not our problem and the whole room breaks out in laughter. It was a good point. You would think Bailey would be smart enough to figure out what happened at a meeting he missed but ...this is politics...and you are not being governed by the brightest candles burning.
The issue did not get voted on here since it had already been sent to committee. Awwww, isn't it nice when we can waste the people's time catching our elected officials up on information they should already know but then that would make for a boring recap so for that reason I thank Comissioner Bailey for the comic relief he sometimes provides.
All the world's a stage...and you guys are missing it. January 12th is the next full commission meeting. I challenge all of you reading this recap that live nearby to show up. I would love to meet you. Drop me a line at email@example.com if you are interested.