Sebelius: Haslam has not provided specifics on his Medicaid expansion plan for TN

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has not provided details to the federal government on his alternative proposal for expanding Medicaid coverage to 180,000 uninsured Tennesseans, Kathleen Sebelius said Friday during a visit to Memphis.

Further from the Commercial Appeal:

“We don’t have specifics from the governor’s office,” the Health and Human Services secretary said during a news conference at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library.

“There are lots of conversations. I’ve talked to the governor probably three or four times directly. I know that our Medicaid staff is in close communication with the Medicaid staff here at the state. We would love to work with Tennessee around Medicaid expansion.’’

…Sebelius said Friday the expansion would provide health care coverage to another 180,000 Tennesseans.

Under the Affordable Health Care Act, the federal government would provide Tennessee about $1 billion a year to expand Medicaid coverage to those who make between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the expansion cost through 2016, then 90 percent the next three years.

But key state leaders have balked, saying Tennessee may end up enrolling more on Medicaid than it can afford even with the federal support.

Haslam has asked the federal government to send the money to Tennessee and let the state buy private or commercial health insurance for those newly eligible.

Haslam spokeswoman Alexia Poe said Friday, “We haven’t submitted an official waiver at this point, but we outlined the key issues for CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) early on and continue to have detailed discussions about those issues.”

Haslam has sought guidance on key issues and on what flexibility Tennessee will have on such details as cost sharing. Haslam has said he wants to create a plan that will work instead of submitting proposals that will not be approved.