My Insure Tennessee Thoughts


February 11, 2015 2:52PM

After watching many of the legislative proceedings and managing the Beacon media outreach, here are a couple of my observations and takeaways from last week’s Medicaid expansion debate from the perspective of a Communications Director.

Respect Across the Board

For the most part, the discussions around Medicaid expansion were polite and respectful in the legislature and across social media. Since Medicaid expansion is such an explosive issue, I expected more fireworks and personal attacks. However, during the proceedings I was pleasantly surprised by the respect shown both by legislators and interested parties on both sides of the issue. Ultimately, I think it shows that everyone involved in this issue was well intentioned and this will hopefully serve as an example we follow in future debates.

What is the Beacon Center?

The Beacon Center is a free market nonprofit, but our description seemed to be changing with each news article written. Politico referred to us as conservative, Tennessean writer Dave Boucher called us a “tea-party aligned think tank” and a “conservative think tank” in different articles, and numerous outlets routinely refer to us as a libertarian think tank. Surprisingly, the most apt description of the Beacon Center came from none other than the New York Times, who called us “a Nashville nonprofit that advocates smaller government.”

Anti-Medicaid Expansion Arguments Based More in Reality Than Speculation

After watching most of the testimony, including fantastic testimony from our very own Justin Owen and Lindsay Boyd, it seemed to me that the main reason Medicaid expansion was killed was based on the persuasiveness of the arguments. The anti-expansion argument was based on the results from other states and the fact that we are giving the federal government too much power over healthcare in Tennessee. The biggest problem with the argument in favor Medicaid expansion was the fact that there was no written legislation to vote on, it was all speculation, a point Justin Owen really hammered home. None of the legislators knew exactly what they were voting on, and I think that speculation is what ultimately killed the proposal so quickly.