Tennessee Decides to Expand Medicaid

In my own state of Michigan, there was a battle in the Republican controlled state legislature to expand Medicaid for the 600,000 uninsured citizens. It did pass with some legislators such as Michigan State Senator Joseph Hune complaining loudly about how its passage made him “sick to his stomach.” Even with the passage, the state legislature delayed its implementation from January 1st to April 1 2014 costing the state $millions in aid. Republican Governor Rick Snyder supported the passage of the Medicaid Expansion after commissioning a study by the State Senate Fiscal Agency investigating his proposal of banking some of the savings to be used after the 100% federal funding ceased. Based upon medical cost inflation rate, case load, HICA Caps, etc.; the state would not have to dip into its coffers until 2022 considering worst case to potentially 2034 under the best case scenario.

It has been said of many of the holdout states in denying the expansion of Medicaid, they pass up quite a bit of $federal to expand Medicaid, lose $federal reimbursing hospital care for the uninsured, and would eventually come to the table and accept the expansion. August 28, The Tennessean quoted the Gov. Bill Haslam him “I think we’ll probably go to them sometime this fall with a plan … that we think makes sense for Tennessee.”

Not only is the expansion important for the uninsured, it is important for hospitals which were previously reimbursed for care to the uninsured through other federal programs. These programs would be discontinued under the Medicaid Expansion whether the state went forward with it or not. Many of these hospitals would be faced with bankruptcy or denying care to the uninsured.

Tennessee Justice Executive Director: “It’s urgent that the governor submit a serious plan to accept federal funds to expand health coverage for Tennesseans. The Consequences of delay are devastating for both the healthcare infrastructure we all rely upon as well as Tennesseans.”

The same as the delay in Michigan, the delay in Tennessee also costs the state aid at the rate of $2.7 million/day. Gotta love those Repubs.

Ht Tip: Crooks and Liars