News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today issued a proclamation convening an “extraordinary session” of the 109th General Assembly to consider “Insure Tennessee,” a two year pilot program to provide health care coverage to Tennesseans who do not currently have access to health insurance or have limited options. The program is designed to reward healthy behaviors, promote personal responsibility and incentivize preventative care and healthy choices.
The proclamation calls for the special session to begin Monday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. CST for the legislature to consider a joint resolution authorizing the governor to implement Insure Tennessee. The governor is scheduled to address the General Assembly at 6 p.m. CST that evening.
“There are few challenges facing us today as great as those presented by our broken health care system,” Haslam said. “The Insure Tennessee plan is a conservative approach that introduces market principles to Medicaid, provides health care coverage to more Tennesseans at no additional cost to taxpayers, and leverages a payment reform initiative that is working to control health care costs and improve the quality of care. I believe this plan is a critical first step to fundamentally changing health care in Tennessee.”
In December the governor was joined by representatives from a coalition of business, health care and civic organizations when he announced his Insure Tennessee plan.
The plan does not create any new taxes nor adds any state cost to the budget. The hospital industry has committed that it will cover any additional cost to the state, and the program will automatically terminate in the event that either federal funding or support from the hospitals is modified in any way.
The plan would provide coverage to more than 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, valued at slightly over $16,000 a year for an individual and $27,000 for a family of three.
Five key areas of the governor’s plan include: a fiscally sound and sustainable program; providing two new private market choices for Tennesseans; shifting the delivery model and payment of health care in Tennessee from fee-for-service to outcomes based; incentivizing Tennesseans to be more engaged and to take more personal responsibility in their health; and preparing participants for eventual transition to commercial health coverage.
The amendment to the state’s existing waiver is being made available today for a 30-day public comment period.
Note: Text of the waiver request is available by clicking this link: Insure Tennessee – Waiver Amendment
Text of the proclamation calling the special session — it’s very limited — is available by clicking on this link: proclamation