Haslam Listening to All Sides on Health Exchange

Governor Bill Haslam says he and TennCare officials have daily meetings on the health insurance exchance decision. Photo credit Blake Farmer/WPLN

Governor Bill Haslam says he and TennCare officials have daily meetings on the health insurance exchance decision. Photo credit Blake Farmer/WPLN

Tennessee is one of a dwindling number of states yet to indicate whether it will run a health insurance exchange. Wednesday, Tea party groups have organized a rally outside the state capitol to discourage Governor Bill Haslam from going along with the federal government. He says he’s paying attention.

“We want to listen to everybody. But I could probably go in this room and say do you think we should run a state run exchange? I’d probably get a whole lot of people who’d raise their hand and say yes. So you take all the information you can. At the end of the day, it’s our job to make the very best decision for the state.”

Haslam’s office has received thousands of phone calls and emails, mostly against running what is effectively a health insurance equivalent to Orbitz or Travelocity. The governor has said he favors the state running programs when it can, and says he’s receiving more information from Washington every day.

Tennessee has until December 14th to decide, but the state legislature will still have to sign off, and some Republican members of the General Assembly say anything enabling Obamacare is a non-starter.

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