Legislators Cool to Haslam Plan

Well this is good news!

Tom Humphrey of Knoxblogs reports:

So far, Gov. Bill Haslam may not be winning the hearts and minds of the Republican legislators he needs to win approval of his Medicaid expansion plan… at least so far.

Excerpts from a Tennessean story Monday:
“It’s just that a lot of us are getting cold feet real quick,” said House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, R-Franklin.
Those cold feet are based both on the idea the plan expands government and on the fact the governor hasn’t presented the exact plan to legislative leaders, Casada said. Or at least not to the leaders who typically present bills for the governor: Casada said Haslam hasn’t spoken with House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, or himself about the precise details of the plan.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, said the governor hasn’t shown him his plan, either. Asked Friday when he expected Haslam to present the plan to him, Norris said “two weeks ago.”

“It weighs heavily on me and the rest of us,” Norris said. “Everybody in the General Assembly. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time studying the options during the holiday, and you know, I’ve just about exhausted my limited knowledge of where he’s headed. Don’t really know what more can be done at this point.”
…Norris said he’s not being critical of the governor and would keep an open mind about the proposal. Casada also pledged to reserve final judgment until seeing the actual plan in writing.

… Medicaid expansion by any other name is still Medicaid expansion, argued House Majority Whip Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin.

… “There are a few folks that are open to the idea, but I think you’ll see most Republicans vote no. There’s definitely a very large part of our caucus voting no,” said Durham, typically considered one of the more conservative members of the House.

“You can put window dressing and some conservative ideas out there, but if it really is Medicaid expansion, I just don’t see many Republicans buying that argument.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, an opponent of the Haslam proposal (and sponsor, along with Durham, of a so-called “Stop Obamacare Act” that passed the legislature last session), has emailed a survey asking those who receive it to answer yes or no to the question:

“Should Tennessee expand its Medicaid program to include individuals making 138% of the poverty level as requested by the federal ObamaCare law?”

For more information on Haslam’s plan, the email includes both a link to the governor’s news release announcing his proposal and a link to a Forbes magazine online article denouncing it.

Excerpt from the latter:

The truth is his new “Insure Tennessee” plan is heavy on buzzwords and light on substance . Many of the most important details haven’t been released, as the plan hasn’t even been fully designed. But one thing is clear: like all Obamacare expansions, Haslam’s would be a disaster for Tennessee’s taxpayers and most vulnerable patients.

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