Will not expand TennCare rolls under the Affordable Care Act
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Healthcare highlighted a very busy week on Capitol Hill, with Governor Bill Haslam’s announcement that he will not expand TennCare rolls under the federal Affordable Care Act. The Governor, instead, said he is working on a “Tennessee Plan” to reform health care that leverages federal dollars to purchase private health insurance for Tennesseans without access to coverage.
“Tennessee has shown the nation how to produce true reform in education, based on students’ results and educational outcome. We’re beginning to do the same thing with reforming government service – again by measuring outcome and results rather than just years of service as a state employee,” Haslam said. “I believe Tennessee can also be a model for what true health care reform looks like; reform that will take significant steps to save the state and the nation from the unsustainable path we are on now.”
Haslam’s plan, which takes on the critical issue of aligning incentives among users, payers and healthcare providers would:
- Leverage available federal dollars to purchase private health insurance for Tennesseans up to 138% of the federal poverty level who don’t have access to health insurance, which would translate to 175,000 more insured Tennesseans;
- Allow co-pays for those who can afford to pay something;
- Include a definitive circuit-breaker or sunset of the plan that could only be renewed with the General Assembly’s approval; and
- Reform the payment structure for providers so they are compensated for health outcomes, not just based on services performed.
“Governor Haslam offered a good solution, rather than expanding an unsustainable and broken plan,” said Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro). “Unlike Washington, Tennessee has been working hard to control health care costs. Hopefully, Washington will see our 20-year record of working through the problems we face with our healthcare system and agree to work with us on a plan that will truly be beneficial to improving healthcare outcomes in our state and that is financially sustainable over the long run.”
The governor will not ask the General Assembly for approval to accept the Medicaid expansion federal funds as he continues to work for the flexibility needed to implement his plan.