The Clarksville Leaf Chronicle reported Saturday that state Sen. Mark Green was developing alternative legislation to Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee proposal, should it fail during a special legislative session starting next week. Today the newspaper reports Green has issued a news release declaring that’s inaccurate.
Sen. Mark Green has never expressed support for Insure Tennessee, the proposal to expand Medicaid that will be the subject of a special session of the General Assembly next week.
Green moved quickly Sunday to clarify his position in reaction to a report in The Leaf-Chronicle’s print and online editions which he said “conveyed an inaccurate message.”
The Leaf Chronicle’s online version of the story was headlined, “Sen. Green formulating option if Insure Tennessee fails.” The report inaccurately stated that Green, R-Clarksville, had a backup legislative proposal to expand Medicaid should the much-discussed plan of Gov. Bill Haslam fail to gain support in the General Assembly.
“Because we get so accustomed to a legislative proposal being rooted in a government solution, assumptions are made,” Green said in a press release Sunday. “The working poor who do not have access to health insurance is a problem, but the answer doesn’t always have to involve a program accepting federal funding.”
The Leaf-Chronicle report inaccurately combined aspects of two separate pieces of health care legislation Green is working on that are not directly tied to Insure Tennessee, Green said.
At a town hall meeting in Erin last week, Green referred to a legislative alternative that would assist in the creation of nonprofit organizations, such as Project Access, in Knoxville. The initiative is operated through Knox County’s Medical Society and employs the provider services of “Good Samaritan” health care providers in a clinical setting that serves the working poor. This service has been operational since 2006 serving more than 19,000 low-income patients with more than $150 million donated in health care services. Green’s plan would take the charitable care model statewide.
The other legislative proposal Green discussed would address a need to provide more incentives for saving by current TennCare enrollees.
Note: It appears the original post has been taken off the newspaper’s website. The first lines were included in the Haslam administration roundup of news stories on Sunday, thusly:
State Sen. Mark Green is working on a alternative in the event Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee proposal to expand Medicaid does not pass in the legislature. “I’m concerned there are some Republicans in the Legislature that will say no to Insure Tennessee,” Green said following a town hall meeting in Erin on Jan. 21. “If it doesn’t pass, this will be a contingency.” Last week, Haslam began a tour of the state to promote his proposal to extend health coverage to more than 200,000 low-income Tennesseans. Insure Tennessee has received a cool response in the Legislature because it draws on federal money available under President Barack Obama’s health care law. Haslam has stressed that the proposal differs from straight Medicaid expansion adopted in other states because it would require co-pays and offer vouchers to buy private insurance. The plan has been endorsed by hospitals that argue it would defray costs for treating uninsured patients. The program is to be financed entirely by Tennessee’s hospitals and is being touted to not create any new taxes or add any state cost to the state budget.