State Rep. Sabi Kumar Wants to Expand Medicaid and Make Forced Savings Payroll Deductions Mandatory


In a radio interview with LaVern Vivio on WDBL radio in Springfield on Tuesday, State Rep. Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar, R-Springfield, said he wants to expand Medicaid and make forced savings payroll deductions mandatory.

During the interview, Kumar said he wants to introduce a bill in the Tennessee General Assembly that would require payroll deductions for savings. This, he said, because too many Americans don’t seem to want to to do it on their own initiative.

“Two-thirds of the American families have less than $1,000 in savings. So needing a set of new tires for the car becomes a problem. It becomes a threat to a family. The other part of that equation is that two-thirds of our teenagers have iPhones — while two-thirds of the families have less than $1,000 in savings. So we are spending money. We are not saving money. We are not saving for emergencies,” Kumar said.

“One concept that has happened in a few of the states is make it automatic that 3 percent of the salary is taken from working people and deposited in a Roth IRA for them so that they have automatic built-in savings. Now, this is a free country and that must mean freedom. So, any person can sign a piece of paper and opt out of it if they do not want to do it or if they have savings through another plan that they are using. But, the point is, we are all so lazy so a lot of them will allow those savings to pile up and it will be good for them.”

Kumar said the people managing these accounts will charge “negligible to minimum” costs.

“But it is a matter of encouraging a savings habit they do not do. This will be tax free. There is no taxation on it. It has to be organized. I’ve been talking to the treasurer for the state of Tennessee, talking to the Tennessee Bankers Association, talking to insurers,” he said.

“It will be a Roth IRA tax free that will generate automatic savings that belong to the people themselves. Yes, a person always has the option to opt out. But I hope people are too lazy to opt out so their savings can build.”

Kumar, however, said if his colleagues in the state legislature help enact his proposal into law then people may still access their savings accounts at any time without penalties or interests.

Kumar also discussed TennCare block grants, in which the federal government pays two-thirds of the cost of the Medicaid or TennCare program.

“It’s a very critical program, and, actually, we have about 1.2 million Tennesseans who depend on that, children especially and single parents. One situation there is that you can have a family, and if a mother gets married and there are two incomes. Their income levels put them slightly beyond the level at which they can have TennCare. So, in a way, it’s better for them to stay single,” Kumar said.

“It discourages marriage, and marriage and family are institutions we as a community as a state as a society should be supporting. That is injustice because people who are getting married are getting penalized. We should be encouraging marriage and togetherness rather than penalizing it by giving the TennCare away.”

Kumar went on to say this is “a temporary thing.”

“We are going to allow maybe six months to 12 months that would allow you to find a private sector situation so you have coverage so it’s not going to be a lifelong thing at all, and it should not be,” Kumar said.

– – –

Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Sabi Khumar” by U-Turn LaVern Vivio.






Related posts

10 Thoughts to “State Rep. Sabi Kumar Wants to Expand Medicaid and Make Forced Savings Payroll Deductions Mandatory”

  1. […] —  State Rep. Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar, R-Springfield, said Saturday that The Tennessee Star’s recent coverage of his proposals to expand Medicaid and make savings payroll deductions mandatory was […]

  2. […] The Tennessee Star reported this week, Kumar wants to introduce a bill in the Tennessee General Assembly that would require payroll […]

  3. Beatrice Shaw

    Yay!! I am seeing a few Republicans that aren’t corrupt in Tennessee sine we came here. I had doubts about the Governor, but he is very compassionate. This man seems to be the same way. We need free health care. Big business has the money to help all Americans have the best care in the world so we don’t have to worry about all the medical expenses. We can then use the money to support the businesses that pay for health care!!! More like him!!

  4. Karen Bracken

    There is no such thing as a temporary or trial in government. That is just double speak to soften the blow.

    Time to end this apparent socialists career in politics. Another nanny state politician is not what we need.

    FORCING people to save is not the governments job just like forcing vaccines and medical treatments is not their job and only serves to take away freedom and give more power to government. Expand medicaid…..why?…. for the illegals and refugees coming to TN???

    With jobs enough for every able bodied American we should be getting people off welfare and medicaid and out into the workforce.

    Perhaps this is the legislation he should work on: If you are able bodied you must work and entitlements reduced or eliminated.

  5. Perry

    The 2/3 of families who have no savings for emergencies would not use manadatory savings to put a set of tires on their car when needed. They would use it to make sure they have the latest iPhone. You can’t legislate responsibility into irresponsible people.

    Dr Kumar represents me in Robertson County. I have supported him in the past but this sort of RINO-ism will force my supporrt elsewhere.

    1. Stuart I. Anderson

      Good for you Perry. The Romanoffs, Hapsburgs, and Hohenzollerns were in office for life, but we decided long ago that we were not going to be a monarchy, rather we are supposed to be a democratic republic. It’s about time we started to act like one. Officeholders are term limited one term at a time. When they are Republicans and become enthralled with government power and catch Potomac or Cumberland Fever, FIRE THEM ASAP.

  6. Bill M.

    He’s lost his mind. Does he have a primary challenger?

  7. Terry Miksic

    More govt intrusion. We already have a savings deduction. It’s called social security. If this money goes into a savings account, does it mean I would have access to it? If so then it negates the “savings”, for it won’t be saved, it’s just another task that would be brushed aside for those non savers.

  8. Stuart I. Anderson

    Rep. Kumar is entirely too comfortable with government interventions in the lives of its citizens, someone who Margaret Thatcher would call a “wet” Republican. No wonder Kumar has a very underwhelming 67% lifetime rating from the Club For Growth. Now there’s a man who some ambitious conservative should challenge in next August’s Republican primary.

    1. Ron Welch

      Stuart, I agree. Kumar is my State rep. The most the State Legislature should do is to mandate basic economics be taught in our public schools.