News release from Senate Democratic Caucus:
NASHVILLE – Senate Democratic leaders on Tuesday urged Gov. Haslam to establish a Tennessee Insurance Exchange under the Affordable Care Act.
In a conference call with the governor Tuesday, administration officials told legislators that establishing a state-run exchange would be cheaper for Tennesseans and for insurance providers, and could give the state more control. With three days before the federal deadline, the administration still had not made a decision.
“The presidential election was decisive, and Obamacare is the law of the land,” Senate Democratic leader Jim Kyle said. “Government closest to the people governs best, and that should be a guiding principle as we implement the new health care law.”
The governor can say yes now to a state-run exchange and back out later if that’s what’s best for Tennessee. But if we say no now, the state could lose as much as $90 million in federal grants. Any state-run exchange would still be subject to approval by the General Assembly.
“We have come to count on Gov. Haslam for pragmatic leadership in an environment where the legislature is increasingly partisan,” Democratic caucus chairman Lowe Finney said. “It’s clear that if we run the exchange, it will be cheaper for taxpayers, and it will allow our state to retain more control.”
Note: News release from House Democratic Caucus below.
News release from House Democratic Caucus:
“The deadline for states to respond to the federal government about health insurance exchanges has been extended,” Haslam said.
“We are hopeful in the coming weeks we will receive answers from Washington to the many questions we’ve asked in our effort to have a full picture of the future of exchanges in Tennessee.
“Let me be clear, I oppose the Affordable Care Act. I joined with other Republican governors earlier this year to fight the law. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court upheld a majority of it this summer, including the provision that states are required to either participate in a federal exchange or establish their own.
“I understand there is a lot of passion and uncertainty about the health care law, and I share that frustration. As governor, I believe it is my job to put emotions aside and to make the tough decisions on the serious issues that impact Tennesseans. That is what I’m working hard to do.”