Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announces new health initiative; still no conclusion on Medicaid expansion

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announces new health initiative; still no conclusion on Medicaid expansion

August 7th, 2013 by Kate Harrison Belz in Local - Breaking News

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam speaks to reporters after announcing the launch of a "Healthier Tennessee" program during a news conference Wednesday at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Headquarters in Chattanooga. Rick Johnson, right, was also introduced as president and CEO of the newly-created Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Today Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam outlined a new statewide initiative to bump Tennessee health rankings from the bottom of the list.

But the governor, speaking at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee headquarters in Chattanooga, says he still has not reached an agreement with the federal government about one of the most important health care dilemmas facing the state: whether to expand Medicaid under his proposed" Tennessee Plan."

Haslam said he will be going to Washington, D.C., in the coming days to continue negotiations with federal officials about his version of TennCare expansion, which would use federal money to allow uninsured adults to buy private insurance on the federal health insurance exchanges.

Haslam has previously said a decision would be made by the end of summer. He says that is still his goal.

The new initiative, called "Healthier Tennessee," seeks to push Tennesseans to exercise three days a week, eat healthier, and forgo smoking.

It will also include closer tracking of outcomes, said Haslam.

A new organization, called the Governor's Foundation For Health and Wellness, will direct the initiative "over the long term."

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