Tennessee Gov. decides against Medicaid expansion

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said on Wednesday in an address to a joint convention of the General Assembly that he will not pursue expanding the state’s version of Medicaid, called TennCare. 

The health overhaul law, known as ObamaCare, allows states to expand Medicaid to families earning up to $30,000 a year, but the governor clearly recognizes the hidden costs of expansion. 

He can be a leader in helping other governors to see the many reasons why expansion is dangerous for taxpayers, for those currently on Medicaid who will have an even harder time finding doctors to see them, and for those with private insurance whose premiums inevitably will rise to compensate for Medicaid’s low payment rates.   

Gov. Haslam joins other governors who have said no to expansion, and he can take the lead in organizing them to demand from Washington more control over their Medicaid programs to work together to bring Medicaid into the 21st century.  

I testified before committees in both houses of the Tennessee legislature earlier this month at the invitation of Rep. Jeremy Durham and Sen. Brian Kelsey, both of whom sponsored legislation that would block Medicaid expansion.   

Here is a link to our paper on the 12 reasons Tennessee should not expand Medicaid that was the basis for my testimony.  And here is a short article about the governor’s announcement this morning.