Medicaid Expansion Prospects Dim

Gov. Bill Haslam said the latest rules from the federal government may have damaged prospects that the state will
In our state’s effort to escape Obamacare, Governor Haslam agreed not to take Medicaid funds for one year.

It looks like he may be swayed to extend the expansion. State Senator Brian Kelsey writes on his facebook page: “For once, I am glad the Obama administration is so stubborn! Let’s hope they keep thwarting our governor’s attempts to enroll us in Medicaid expansion! Please tell your legislator to support my SB 804 to prohibit Medicaid expansion in Tennessee.”

Kelsey offers this from The Tennesseean:

Haslam told reporters Tuesday that final rules released on July 5 by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services on cost-sharing are “not encouraging” toward his plan to expand TennCare by purchasing private coverage for the uninsured. Haslam said federal officials also indicated they would have no way of verifying employment or income statements made by people who apply for insurance.

But Haslam was careful not to rule out expansion, saying state officials are still reviewing the 606-page document.

“It’s awfully early to get down,” he said.

The Affordable Care Act calls on states to offer Medicaid insurance to anyone making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. TennCare is limited primarily to the disabled, children and their parents.

The federal government will pay the full cost of newly eligible enrollees through 2016 and at least 90 percent through 2020. But in March, Haslam announced he would not accept that deal immediately, arguing that doing so would require giving up a shot at more comprehensive reforms.

He has said his administration will decide by the end of summer whether to pursue a plan based on private coverage.

Kelsey is right to direct our efforts towards our legislators and you might want to email Haslam, too. Haslam’s email is bill.haslam@tn.gov.

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