Phil Bredesen served as Mayor of Nashville from 1991 to 1999, and as Governor of Tennessee from 2003 to 2011. When he was reelected in 2006, he became the first Governor in Tennessee history to win all 95 counties.
Bredesen had significant impact as Governor on health care in Tennessee. TennCare was a failing program with soaring and unsustainable costs when he became Governor; he tamed the costs and improved the quality of the care; TennCare remains today a nationally-respected model of a high-quality state Medicaid system. He led significant public health and enforcement efforts to address the state’s methamphetamine crisis. He initiated successful public health efforts to reduce teenage smoking and infant mortality. He instituted state programs to provide health insurance for uninsured adults and children and to assist with prescription drug costs.
He has been instrumental in developing Tennessee’s presence in private sector health care as well. He founded and ran HealthAmerica, an NYSE-listed HMO company with 6,000 employees; he later founded with two others Coventry Corporation, now a part of Aetna.
He has been active in his community outside of government service. In the late 1980s he founded Nashville’s Table, a non-profit organization collecting unused food from local restaurants, hotels and grocery stores. It collected and distributed over 10 million pounds of food before merging with Second Harvest. He founded in the late 1990s the Land Trust for Tennessee, today a widely-respected land trust which has preserved 130,000 acres of sensitive land in 59 Tennessee counties.
He has been in-demand as a speaker on health care issues nationally and the author of “Fresh Medicine: How to Fix Reform and Build a Sustainable Health Care System” (Atlantic Monthly Press). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012.
Governor Bredesen has led a life of public service and unwavering dedication to the well-being of his fellow Tennesseans.