Gov. Haslam says 'Tennessee Plan' to extend Medicaid is workable

Gov. Haslam says 'Tennessee Plan' to extend Medicaid is workable

April 2nd, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam said today he is not running off on a "fool's errand" with his "Tennessee Plan" for extending Medicaid to an estimated 181,000 low-income people under the federal health care law.

Haslam, a Republican, said he spoke with U.S. Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius over the weekend and still believes his overall framework for putting the expansion population into the federally operated health insurance change is workable.

It's a "one-time" opportunity to lower the state's future costs for the expansion and save the federal government $3 for each dollar Tennessee spends, Haslam said in a speech to Nashville business leaders.

The governor acknowledged there are "certain laws" affecting Medicaid enrollees "that we cannot ignore."

Haslam acknowledged there is "probably a rub" on two things he wants to do. That would be not providing the usual Medicaid "wrap around" services like transport to and from a doctor's office for Medicaid-eligible people who go into the exchange.

The second "rub" is on copayments. Haslam wants the Medicaid-eligible people to pay the same copayments for care as others on the exchange.

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