Nashville Chamber Backs Medicaid Expansion

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce came out Wednesday in support of expanding TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, reports Michael Cass.
Marc Hill, the chamber’s chief policy officer, said the business group looked closely at the controversial issue over the past month before deciding to advocate for the expansion — which would be fully funded by the federal government for the first three years — in its 2013 legislative agenda.
Hill cited four main reasons:
• Job creation and increased consumer spending. A University of Memphis analysis found expansion would support more than 20,000 new jobs in Tennessee by 2019.
• Increasing the insured population would replace the money lost in cuts to hospitals and other health care providers, thereby reducing uncompensated care, which would help keep insurance premium increases in check.
• Avoiding a scenario that would allow many people who are below the poverty line to buy insurance from a health exchange created by the federal government, which would “drive up premiums for everybody else, including businesses that provide health insurance to employees.”
“That’s a bottom-line cost to businesses across industries,” Hill said.
• Finally, having health insurance would increase the likelihood that people would get access to preventive and early-stage care.

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