TN Rep. Quotes Saturday Night Live, Ribs Obamacare, Then Points To Silver Lining

Cooper counseled patience, saying many web sites face glitches, which can be worked out in time. The law's implementation walks a fine line, as thousands of Tennesseans are receiving letters warning their current insurance plans will phase out at the end of the year. (Image credit Jim Cooper's office, via flickr)

Cooper counsels patience, saying many web sites face glitches, which can be worked out in time. The law’s implementation walks a fine line, as thousands of Tennesseans are receiving letters warning their current insurance plans will phase out at the end of the year. (Image credit Jim Cooper’s office, via flickr)

Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper has words for the botched Obamacare roll-out.

“The best line was from Saturday Night Live; they said it was like 1-800-FLOWERS not being ready for Valentine’s Day.”

That said, Cooper sees one part working as advertised, which he thinks gets lost in all the shouting and criticism: While the cost of healthcare is still going up, it’s at the slowest speed in decades.

A key argument for the insurance overhaul was to stop rising costs from eating an ever bigger slice of the federal budget pie chart. And Cooper says, apart from the bluster over last month’s botched rollout and so on, it’s doing that.

“Look at the slow rate of price increase in healthcare. That’s extraordinarily good news, and that does more to help us balance future budgets and get more people healthcare than anything else we could be doing. So behind the scenes, away from the noise and the hoo-rah, good things are happening.”

Cooper believes the new system’s technological struggles will be overcome. He plans to shift his staff as well as his own coverage over to the federal insurance exchange, but admits so far he’s put off taking the plunge on healthcare dot gov.

 On Expanding Medicaid

Cooper also took the state’s Republican leaders to task.  He says they’ve made a “deliberate policy decision” to pass up expanding Medicaid, effectively foregoing a mountain of federal dollars that would help cover more than a hundred thousand Tennesseans.

When asked, the Democrat stopped short of critiquing the governor on political courage.  But Cooper pointed to other conservative states like Arizona expanding Medicaid, arguing it’s not impossible in Tennessee.


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