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actually phone lines aren't open, motherfuckerHere at Wonkette, we like to provide you with news you can use. Lately, we’ve been trying to keep a handy list of states we don’t want to live in ever, and we advise you Wonkigonians to avoid as well. We’ve already provided you with key reasons to get the hell out of Texas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. We’re just going to keep this up until you liebruls have nowhere to go and have to stay in your effete East Coast enclaves. Today’s place to avoid is Tennessee, where healthcare for the poors has mutated into a hellish dialing for dollars scheme:

Two nights a year, Tennessee holds a health care lottery of sorts, giving the medically desperate a chance to get help.

State residents who have high medical bills but would not normally qualify for Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor, can call a state phone line and request an application. But the window is tight — the line shuts down after 2,500 calls, typically within an hour — and the demand is so high that it is difficult to get through.

Two nights per year. Unless we didn’t make that clear enough: TWO NIGHTS PER YEAR. For one hour. FOR ONE HOUR. That’s how long you get to try to get through on the phone. It is just like you’re trying to get tickets from your local Clear Channel juggernaut radio station for that sweet-ass New Kids on the Block (with special guests 98 degrees, y’all) reunion tour, but instead you’re trying to get healthcare so you don’t go bankrupt or enjoy the exquisite pleasure of dying slowly in the streets. This is what freedom tastes like, America. And let’s not forget that it isn’t just that you get to speed-dial to help, a pathetic enough arrangement all by itself.  Nope, even if you get through, you just get the chance to apply for help:

She had called about 50 times when, at 6:40, she got through. The woman on the other end of the line asked for Ms. Gordon’s name, birth date, Social Security number, telephone number and address. Ms. Gordon wrote down a confirmation number, thanked her and hung up. The application, she was told, should arrive in a few weeks.

So Tennessee is so broke and poor and just plain fucked that they run a phone line for what works out to be 2 hours per year and all that phone line gets you is the right to ask for an application that will allow you to beg further. Oh! But Tennessee could get more money to help people, at a net cost of fucking ZERO dollars to the state for 3 years, but something something argle bargle black president:

TennCare already provides health coverage to 1.2 million people, more than half of whom are children, at a combined state and federal cost of about $9 billion a year. Many in the Republican-controlled legislature, which includes a strong Tea Party element, opposes its expansion even though the federal government has promised to pay the full cost for the first three years and 90 percent after that.

Now that, motherfuckers, is some principled opposition. It takes a special kind of balls-out horrible to deny health care to a bunch of people with steel plates in their back, crippling arthritis, and other conditions that make working sorta kinda out of the question just so you can stick it to the president. Way to keep hangin’ tough, Tennessee.

[NYT]

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