Gov. Bill Haslam's efforts to expand Medicaid hit another road block

Gov. Bill Haslam's efforts to expand Medicaid hit another road block

July 13th, 2014 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE -- Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's effort to win federal approval of his Medicaid-expansion plan is running into some of the same concerns from newly confirmed U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell as he faced from her predecessor.

Haslam said he personally spoke with the secretary about his long-stalled effort to gain federal approval for his "Tennessee Plan" on expanding Medicaid to an additional 160,000 low-income people under the Affordable Care Act.

Haslam also said he broached with her the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief's recent harsh critique of his administration's failure to provide an adequate application process for TennCare, the state's version of Medicaid, under the ACA.

Among the criticisms: Tennessee's $35 million new computer system is still not up and running.

While Haslam described the overall conversation with Burwell as "positive," he said the secretary's position on his "Tennessee Plan" remains that "there are some bright lines which they don't think they can cross. There's some other areas they want to be very flexible."

Read more in Monday's Times Free Press.