The Republican caucus had a meeting with Governor this morning. He brought up how we need a bipartisan effort, how he works with us to help the state, and how he invites us to attend when grants are given out in our districts. He said we need to work together for our state to fix TennCare, how he has an open door policy and how he returns phone calls so help him out now.
I raised my hand and was recognized to ask the Governor if we were in fact working together to fix TennCare, then why hasn't the most qualified person-a doctor and a legislator, Dr. Hensley--been allowed to serve on the TennCare oversight committee.
Dr. Hensley has a wealth of knowledge and is basically shut out because of partisanship. The Governor more or less mumbled a bit about working in a system. In other words, he was saying “tough.”
Others stood up and spoke to the same issue. Others spoke with regard to the meth problem and how they have specific knowledge of the problem as well as effective solutions, but they too were shut out for the same reasons .
Others stood up and confirmed that they were in fact invited to the grant announcements, but how they were also told if they showed up, the grant would be cancelled.
Some said how they had called the Governor's office and were told that they were so “inept”, that they would not get to talk to the Governor. I know these legislators, and they are not inept.
The Governor did not know what to say. We talked about TennCare some more. The Doctor said how nice it was to finally meet the Governor and get to speak to his staff for once.
We went upstairs and voted on the budget. Dr. Hensley's amendment was killed, even though it was improved since my post yesterday and even covered more people for no more money.
We passed the budget as it stood. Even though there was a lot of good in the budget, there was too much waste-and it turned my stomach. I voted against it.