TN governor says 'no' to covering uninsured with Medicaid - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

TN governor says 'no' to covering uninsured with Medicaid

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NASHVILLE, TN -

(AP) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam 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 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.

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.

"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," said Haslam in a press release.
 
Haslam's plan would take on the critical issue of aligning incentives among users, payers and providers of health care. The plan would:
  • Leverage available federal dollars to purchase private health insurance for Tennesseans up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level who don't have access to health insurance, which would translate to 175,000 more insured Tennesseans;
  • Allow co-pays for those who can afford to pay something;
  • Include a definitive circuit-breaker or sunset of the plan that could only be renewed with the General Assembly's approval;
  • And reform the payment structure for providers so they are compensated for health outcomes, not just based on services performed.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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