Haslam says Tennessee ready to comply with health law if Supreme Court upholds it

Haslam says Tennessee ready to comply with health law if Supreme Court upholds it

June 27th, 2012 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee will be able to carry out requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the controversial law and should President Barack Obama be re-elected, Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said.

"We've begun ... the initial stages of putting the exchange together, which is our primary responsibility," said Haslam, a critic of the health care overhaul. "If they don't strike it down we're on that path. I'm hoping they do [strike it down] because it saves the state money long term."

The nation's highest court is expected to release its ruling Thursday.

Justices could uphold or strike down the entire law or major provisions like the individual mandate that requires most Americans to maintain a minimum level of private or government-sponsored health insurance coverage.

Another provision requires state Medicaid programs to expand and cover far more poor adults.

The health care exchanges cited by the governor deal with increasing access to affordable health insurance. The exchanges will offer qualified health plans and cost-sharing assistance to people with certain income levels.

According to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, about 930,000 people or 15 percent of Tennesseans did not have individual, employer-sponsored or government-sponsored health insurance coverage.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.