Coalition To Control Spending With Care Weighs In On Federal Budget Debate: Launches Statewide Awareness Effort to Encourage Sensible Fiscal Policy

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As the debate on the federal budget and debt ceiling rages in Washington, D.C., a group of Tennessee membership and advocacy organizations have banded together to encourage and support sensible fiscal policy at all levels.

“We must rein in federal spending, however, simply cutting without considering the repercussions is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” said Tony Garr, policy director of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign.

As the debate on the federal budget and debt ceiling rages in Washington, D.C., a group of Tennessee membership and advocacy organizations have banded together to encourage and support sensible fiscal policy at all levels.

The Coalition to Control Spending with Care has launched a statewide awareness and advertising campaign to educate the public – and elected officials – on the dangers of cutting spending without addressing the real issues, specifically on health care spending.

The newspaper ad campaign, “Don’t Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater,” will be launched tomorrow, Thursday, July 28, in Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Jackson and Tri-Cities, urging Congress to take a level-headed approach, and carefully consider the consequences of all spending cuts.

“We must rein in federal spending, however, simply cutting without considering the repercussions is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” said Tony Garr, policy director of the Tennessee Health Care Campaign. “In our urgency, we have to consider the human cost to our most vulnerable citizens and those who care for them.”

The coalition aims to put a human face on the results of haphazard policy, and seeks to make the patient the center of the discussion.

“Controlling health care spending over the long run is critical in securing our country’s financial future,” said Craig Becker, president and chief executive officer of the Tennessee Hospital Association. “However, a narrow focus on just federal health spending will cause serious harm to Medicare and Medicaid patients and their families, while placing tremendous financial pressure on states and providers.”

Some current measures being advanced on Capitol Hill would be detrimental to healthcare in America. Legislation could cut anywhere from $100 billion to $300 billion in Medicare alone – and $2.8 to $4 billion in Tennessee – a very tough pill to swallow, Becker said.

Instead, the focus must be on the drivers of health care spending and shared sacrifice.

The coalition advocates public policy aimed at: reducing clinically avoidable spending in public insurance programs; increasing patient-centered, integrated and coordinated care; aligning provider incentives to achieve the best long term outcomes for patients; improving administrative efficiency and ensuring adequate coverage across the board for patients.

About the Coalition to Control Spending with Care
The Coalition to Control Spending with Care is a group of Tennessee membership and advocacy organizations that have voluntary joined forces to encourage and support sensible fiscal policy at all levels in the U.S. Members include: AARP, American College of Physicians Tennessee Chapter, Children’s Hospital Alliance of Tennessee, Common Cause Tennessee, Hospital Alliance of Tennessee, League of Women Voters of Tennessee, Mental Health Association of East Tennessee, Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee, National Alliance on Mental Illness Tennessee, National Association of Social Workers Tennessee Chapter, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians, Tennessee Association of Mental Health Organizations, Tennessee Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics, Tennessee Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, Tennessee Citizen Action, Tennessee Coalition for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare, Tennessee Disability Coalition, Tennessee Health Care Campaign, Tennessee Hospital Association, Tennessee Justice Center, Tennessee Licensed Professional Counselors Association, Tennessee Mental Health Consumers’ Association, Tennessee Nurses Association, Tennessee Perinatal Association, Tennessee Primary Care Association, Tennessee Public and Teaching Hospitals Association, Tennessee Voices for Children, The Arc Tennessee, United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and the Urban League of Middle Tennessee. For more information on the coalition, and to find out how you can help, visit http://www.controlspendingwithcare.org.

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Todd Smith
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