By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — GOP lawmakers on Thursday for the first time presented details of a more limited approach to Medicaid expansion than was envisioned by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s failed Insure Tennessee proposal.
Members of a task force appointed by Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell said the 3-Star Health proposal would first focus on extending coverage to uninsured people with behavioral health problems and to veterans. The program would include health savings accounts, incentives for healthy living and penalties for improper use of emergencies.
Republican Rep. Cameron Sexton of Crossville said the task force has presented its plan to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services but acknowledged that no other state has been approved for a similar approach.
“We’re looking for a measured approach, where we can have a phased-in approach to work toward closing the gap,” he said. Continue reading →
Gov. Bill Haslam is undecided, at last report, about whether to take advantage of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and block Medicaid expansion that was initially required under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Two Republican lawmakers say they’re moving ahead with plans to block the expansion, contrary to the position pushed by Tennessee hospitals. Here’s today’s news release from the Senate Republican Caucus:
(NASHVILLE, TN), October 29, 2012 — State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin) said today they will introduce legislation to prevent expansion of the Tennessee Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare.” Kelsey and Durham said they will file the bill the day after the 108th General Assembly is elected in November.
Senator Kelsey has two years remaining in his four year term, and Mr. Durham is unopposed for the District 65 seat in the State House of Representatives. The legislation states Tennessee “shall not establish, facilitate, implement or participate in the expansion of the Medicaid program pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
“Unlike Washington, Tennessee balances its budget every year,” said Senator Kelsey. “Tennessee taxpayers cannot afford this expansion of spending. The federal government may be promising money today, but with sixteen trillion dollars of debt, those funds will not be there tomorrow.”