A Secret Plan to (NOT) Expand Medicaid
In a bizarre and hastily put together speech to the General Assembly yesterday, Governor Haslam announced that he would reject the federal government’s offer to pay for hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans without health care coverage to, you know, get health care coverage.
He said that he would instead continue to work on an “alternative plan.” But details of his “alternative plan” are vague and we’re left with this kind of “this is just more of the same” feeling.
What’s more of the same? Governor Haslam punting on difficult decisions while abdicating all responsibility.
What we heard (literally) in yesterday’s speech was the Governor saying to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, and the rest of the General Assembly, “we have no intention of pursuing this path without your…approval.” The Governor has abdicated not only abdicated his responsibility to make this tough decision – but also for his own plan!
The clock is ticking. And while the clock is ticking, federal dollars that would have strengthened Medicaid in Tennessee (aka as OUR tax dollars) will go to other states and hardworking men and women who can’t afford health insurance STILL won’t be able to take their sick kids to the doctor.
Suggested reading – Medicaid expansion fight harms you (Editorial – USA Today):
“Other governors want to let private insurance participate in the Medicare expansion, and the Obama administration hasn’t ruled this out. But it’s hard to see how adding a middleman would be more efficient. The Congressional Budget Office says Medicaid can cover a patient for $6,000 a year in 2022, while the cost of private insurance would be $9,000, or fully 50% more.”
Right after the Governor’s speech, the House and Senate bills that would forbid the state from expanding Medicaid were heard in their respective committees.
Rep. Jeremy Durham, the sposnor of the House bill (HB937) amended his bill to allow the Governor to punt and not have to make a decision until January 2014.
Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), the sponsor of the Senate bill (SB804) “promised to continue being a ‘watchdog’ to prevent any further prospect of Medicaid expansion and Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) added an amendment that stated “that the governor might continue negotiations with the Obama administration but stipulated that any agreement had to be approved by the General Assembly.”
Where is the Governor’s Leadership? Who is running things in this state? The Governor or the General Assembly? We need leadership who will do what’s right for Tennesseans.
Call the Governor and ask him to make a decision and expand Medicaid: 615-741-2001.