The Federal Government, under the Obama Administration, passed a trillion dollar government takeover of our health care system. Obamacare will take away patients' choice by increasing cost and decreasing access and quality to medical care in this country. Worse, Obamacare pushes an unconstitutional unfunded mandate down on our state, to the tune of $250 million that the taxpayers of Tennessee are expected to shoulder. I am resolutely against this encroachment of our state sovereignty and I am committed to fighting it and pushing back on an increasingly out of control Washington.
It is the duty of a Governor and his Attorney General to protect Tennessee from unconstitutional actions taken by the federal government. That is why I have asked Attorney General Cooper to seek a basis for judicial intervention in blocking the current federal healthcare bill. Other states have joined my call since the bill was passed. Unfortunately, Attorney General Cooper has shirked his responsibility to stand tall for the families of Tennessee and refused to file suit against the federal government. I have passed legislation in the Senate urging our Attorney General to sue on behalf of Tennesseans and I have passed legislation allowing Governor Bredesen to act unilaterally to hire outside council to stand up for our rights. Regardless, both Governor Bredesen and AG Cooper have made a wanton decision to ignore the will of the people of Tennessee.
When I am Governor, I will be in the best possible position to be able to circumvent an obstinate Attorney General, one who was appointed by the Supreme Court and feels obligated to no one but that constituency. As Governor, I promise to stand strong and push back on an ever-encroaching Federal Government to protect the sovereign rights of Tennessee and her citizens.
When the federal government requires unfunded mandates, it is the duty of the Governor to protect the state. As Governor, I will not be afraid to criticize Washington Republicans or Democrats who spend wildly or put unfair burdens on Tennessee.
The job of a Governor is to defend and protect the people and interests of this state without fear or favor and that is exactly what I will do.
Controlling Healthcare Costs in Tennessee
No issue is more important to Tennessee's families than the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care. After the GOP took control of the Senate, we passed major tort reform legislation aimed at weeding out meritless medical malpractice lawsuits. Medical malpractice lawsuits have been the number one factor in driving up the cost of health care nationwide.
Under my leadership, the Republican Senate has passed a wide range of initiatives to improve health care in Tennessee. We passed a law that allowed small business owners to pool together to negotiate lower health insurance rates. This makes health care more affordable for their employees, thus making it accessible to more Tennesseans. We also passed legislation to reduce the spread of MRSA in health care facilities and nursing homes.
Perhaps most importantly, I made sure incentives existed for medical students to become rural health care providers. Our next Governor should make it a priority to ensure women and children in underserved areas do not have to drive long distances to get quality health care. I will work hard to accomplish that goal, as Governor.