NASHVILLE — A long-expected plan for a Medicaid expansion in Tennessee could be placed before federal officials soon, Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday. If the feds approve, an estimated 180,000 low-income state residents could be eligible for subsidized health insurance.
"I think we'll probably go to them sometime this fall with a plan … that we think makes sense for Tennessee," the Republican told reporters in response to questions.
It's the first significant development in months over Tennessee's ongoing struggle to expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law.
Haslam so far has declined to accept hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds absent a special waiver of federal rules that he says will save money and result in better health care. Nearly 18 months ago he announced a "Tennessee Plan," but he never submitted a formal request and has only discussed general concepts of what leeway the state could get.
He later asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to come up her own plan that would work in Tennessee.
Haslam's statements came as the state NAACP and other advocates earlier in the day castigated the governor and Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the state Senate speaker, for refusing to expand the program.
Read more in Friday's Times Free Press.
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, ...