Haslam Concerned About Senate Health Bill

On a day when rural health advocates brought tractors to Nashville to highlight the damage TrumpCare would do to Tennessee’s rural communities and just one day after receiving a letter from Tennessee Citizen Action asking for his position on the Senate healthcare bill, Governor Bill Haslam expressed concerns about the legislation.

The Tennessean reports:

“Our concerns continue to be around (that) it looks like they’re going to pass a lot more of the responsibility to the states,” Haslam said Thursday at an event in Mt. Juliet.

Experts have said the Senate’s approach would result in steeper cuts to funding over time than the House version.

The state could be forced to take on additional financial burdens if TennCare spending exceeds the inflation benchmark.

But the governor said he is worried because the burden would fall on states, which do not have the adequate flexibility under the current version of the Senate bill.

The article notes that Haslam has had discussions with Senators Alexander and Corker about the impact of the bill on Tennessee. While Haslam highlighted the cost-shifting as a key concern, TNCA noted this week there are additional reasons for state policymakers to be concerned — including that more than 600,000 Tennesseans would lose access to affordable health care if the Senate bill passes. Other concerns share with Governor Haslam included:

  • Ending Medicaid expansion alone would take health care away from up to 251,000 Tennesseans
  • 43,000 Tennessee veterans are at risk of losing Medicaid coverage
  • 50 percent of rural Tennessee children are enrolled in Medicaid – that coverage is in jeopardy with this legislation
  • Nine rural Tennessee hospitals have closed in recent years, 32 more are at risk of closing without Medicaid funds

The impact of the Senate bill would clearly be devastating for many Tennessee families and communities. As Governor Haslam points out, it would also blow a hole in our state’s budget, forcing lawmakers to either cut other programs, raise taxes, or stop providing key healthcare services.

Haslam’s concerns should give pause to Senators Alexander and Corker as they return to Washington next week and consider the TrumpCare legislation.



For more on the fight for access to quality, affordable healthcare, follow @TNCitizenAction



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