Gov. Bill Haslam announced that Tennessee would not expand the State’s Medicaid program according to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – commonly referred as "Obamacare" instead it would follow the ‘Tennessee Plan’ and increase health coverage for those who genuinely needed it. The Tennessee Plan would help175, 000 people who required health insurance, the state intended to save millions of dollars by buying policies from private insurers.
In the Tennessee plan - the state provided coverage for the uninsured without the restrictions placed by the federal law on the Medicaid program so that they were flexible in delivery of health care. The health care providers would be paid for actual health outcomes rather than the number of services performed per patient.
The plan includes a definitive clause that it could be renewed only with the General Assembly’s approval, thus ensuring that the legislature’s hands are not tied in the future if the states revenues are below budget.
Gov. Haslam’s decision of not falling into the trap of free federal support and following a Tennessee Plan is bold and greatly appreciated. Gov. Haslam’s actions show that the real answers to the nation’s health care problems have to be resolved by the states and not by federal bureaucrats in Washington.
The Tennesseans will have reach to quality and affordable health care and it is established that Gov. Haslam’s thoughtful choice with regard to such an important decision, is the right one for the state and people of Tennessee which will lead the state to a bright and successful future.
Glen Casada, April 2013