published Monday, March 25th, 2013

Gov. Bill Haslam to decide this week on Medicaid expansion

 In this Feb. 7, 2013 photo, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam speaks to a group in Nashville, Tenn. Haslam is one of the last Republican governors to decide whether to expand Medicaid, partly because of the state's experience as a pioneer in expanding Medicaid to cover the uninsured back in the 1990s. Federal funding for that expansion was cut after the White House and governorship changed hands.
In this Feb. 7, 2013 photo, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam speaks to a group in Nashville, Tenn. Haslam is one of the last Republican governors to decide whether to expand Medicaid, partly because of the state's experience as a pioneer in expanding Medicaid to cover the uninsured back in the 1990s. Federal funding for that expansion was cut after the White House and governorship changed hands.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said today he expects to reach a decision soon on whether to recommend Tennessee pursue an expansion of its Medicaid program, TennCare, under the federal affordable care act.

“We should have a decision ready this week,” Haslam told reporters this afternoon. “That’s about as specific as I can get at this point.”

Later this week, a Republican-backed bill is coming up in a Senate committee that would block the expansion of Medicaid to what the state projects would be 180,000 low-income Tennesseans.

Last week, Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville told reporters he’s held off action on the bill as long as he reasonably can to give the governor time to make his decision.

Among other things, Haslam is now looking at efforts by Arkansas’ and Ohio’s governors to expand Medicaid through a market-based approach that would use the online health care insurance exchanges also established by the law.

Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court threw states a curve on the Medicaid expansion, ruling that the decision is up to states instead of the mandate in the original Affordable Care Act.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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