Haslam Says No to Medicaid Expansion

Haslam Says No to Medicaid Expansion

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has announced that he won't pursue expanding the state's Medicaid program to help cover the uninsured as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP, abc24.com) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has announced that he won't pursue expanding the state's Medicaid program to help cover the uninsured as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Haslam told a joint session of state lawmakers Wednesday that that he decided not to do that because he prefers a third option to use federal money to subsidize private insurance. The federal government hasn't accepted that proposal.

“Tennessee has shown the nation how to produce true reform in education, based on students’ results and educational outcome. We’re beginning to do the same thing with reforming government service – again by measuring outcome and results rather than just years of service as a state employee,” Haslam said. “I believe Tennessee can also be a model for what true health care reform looks like; reform that will take significant steps to save the state and the nation from the unsustainable path we are on now.”

Expanding TennCare, the state's Medicaid program, had been estimated to cover roughly 140,000 of Tennessee's nearly 1 million uninsured residents and bring in $1.4 billion in federal money.

“Hospitals and medical providers have put a lot of sincere effort into working with us toward payment reform,” Haslam said. “I cannot emphasize enough how much I’ve been impressed with our hospitals’ willingness to work with us. To succeed, we also need cooperation from the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), and we can’t get the same assurances from them at this point. Until we get those assurances, I cannot recommend that we move forward on this plan.

“All we’re asking from Washington is to allow us to use the federal funds to provide coverage on the health care exchange in the same way many other Tennesseans will access coverage regardless of whether or not we expand. It’s a reasonable ask,” Haslam continued.

Haslam is among the last of the Republican governors to declare a decision on expansion. Both the health care program and President Barack Obama are widely unpopular in the highly Republican state.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus