Tensions Mount Over State Healthcare Exchange

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) looks on at a GOP caucus meeting Monday afternoon. WPLN/Daniel Potter

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) looks on at a GOP caucus meeting Monday afternoon. WPLN/Daniel Potter

A top Republican lawmaker sounded off Monday against a possible state-run insurance exchange under the federal healthcare overhaul. That’s at odds with Governor Bill Haslam, who has hinted he’d prefer the state exchange, but has been slow to commit.

An exchange would be a government-run store to help Tennesseans shopping for health insurance. Several governors have recently said their states won’t open exchanges, instead leaving it to Washington. But Haslam doesn’t love either option, and has put off a decision, hinting a state model could have some upsides.

House Republican Majority Leader Gerald McCormick argues there’s too much fine-print still waiting to be written. McCormick says he’s heard from insurance companies who prefer the state option, and, in so many words: too bad.

“At this point I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance of that happening. We’re not going to set up a state exchange unless we really have some detailed information on it and it becomes favorable for the state of Tennessee to do so in a way that cannot be reversed. And I just don’t see that happening based on past experience with the federal government.”

A federal deadline for states to spell out their intent is next month. Haslam could keep his options open by steering toward a state exchange for now, and maybe cancelling later. Building one would require approval from lawmakers like McCormick.


Please keep your community civil. Comments will be moderated prior to posting, and Nashville Public Radio reserves the right to approve them at its discretion. Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published. Your comments may include external links, but all comments with links will be delayed as they are reviewed. Comments containing profanity will be rejected.