Columnist: Medicaid non-expansion shows Haslam’s ‘failure to manage tea party extremists’

Excerpt from a column in the Jackson Sun by Tom Bohs, bearing the headline ‘2014 could be the year, or not, of the tea party:’

On the TennCare expansion front, for example, the reality of Haslam’s failure to manage tea party extremists is beginning to trickle down to real people.

I had a call this week from a reader who sincerely wanted to know what all of the fuss was about regarding TennCare expansion, and The Jackson Sun’s editorial argument that Haslam is failing to lead.

…It seemed clear from our discussion that the (caller’s) daughter would have been included in the category of people to be covered by TennCare expansion. Until she was able to get her income up again, she would have gotten her health insurance paid for under the terms of the Affordable Care Act.

My discussion with the reader revealed a person who was hard working, showed great concern for the daughter who was out of a job, and understood the importance of personal responsibility and of people having health insurance.

But, thanks to radical tea party politics, this person still will have to struggle to spend $200 per month to do the responsible thing for a daughter who likely would have qualified under Affordable Care Act TennCare expansion rules.

I am not a tea party opponent. Having come of age during the 1960s, I understand radical social and political tactics. And the tea party again is proving that they work. I get that. But I also understand that at some point, radicalism must be tempered by reality. We all couldn’t find peace by moving to hippie communes and smoking dope in the ’60s. I doubt that we all can start wearing three-cornered hats and throwing common sense, political compromise and good government into Boston Harbor to make America better place to live.