TN Republicans Vow to Block Medicaid Expansion

Two Tennessee Republicans say they’re going to make sure the state doesn’t expand its insurance program for the poor. Governor Bill Haslam has been on the fence.

Senator Brian Kelsey of Memphis and incoming Republican Jeremy Durham of Franklin – who is running unopposed for the state House – say they’ll file a bill the day after the election to block the expansion of TennCare.

“Doesn’t matter what Haslam decides to do. I feel that we can’t afford it.”

Under President Obama’s health care overhaul, federal money would cover all of the costs for the first few years. Then states have to pick up 10 percent of the price tag.

Durham doesn’t believe Washington can live up to its end of the deal, though he acknowledges opting out of Medicaid expansion will leave uninsured Tennesseans weighing down hospitals, which are already taking a hit under Obamacare.

Tennessee Hospital Association head Craig Becker says they took lower reimbursement rates in exchange for more insured people.

“We had the impression and certainly the hope that we would see additional coverage as the main reason that we agreed to the cuts that came down.”

Becker calls the debate over Medicaid expansion “premature” until it’s determined who will be president.

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