Governor Bill Haslam says he is still undecided about the expansion of Medicaid that would provide coverage for 180,000 of
Roughly $1 billion a year is available and waiting under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the federal government would pay the full amount of the expansion costs through 2016 then 90 percent the following three years.
The Medicaid expansion was set to go into effect with the rest of the ACA to end expensive emergency room visits by the very poorest with steady medical treatment and follow-ups when necessary, which is not provided when they are treated in the emergency room.
The standard excuse by
Republican controlled legislature is that there is no guarantee that the state
will have the funds to continue the program when the federal government gradually turns expense to the state by 2020. The Governor is dragging his feet to
soothe his colleagues while the states poorest continue to suffer.
There are no guarantees in this life, but with the money expected to be saved with regular health care for the poor and nearly six years to prepare for all eventualities,
Tennessee is just as
capable as the states that took the federal funds. Next door in Kentucky, both the ACA and the Medicaid
expansion are in smooth operation.
Haslam says he has asked the federal government to send the money to
and let the state buy private or commercial health insurance for those newly
eligible. However, Haslam spokesperson, Alexia Poe, admitted as of last Friday (1-31-14), that
no official waiver has been submitted.
It is a political fact that Republicans will go to almost any length to hamper the ACA, but you have to wonder how the obstructionists and Governor Haslam sleep at night with the knowledge that
most needy are being denied humane healthcare for political reasons when the
means of relief is available.