Medicaid Decision Not Critical to 2014 Budget, Haslam Says

Gov. Haslam, via flickr

Gov. Haslam, via flickr

Governor Bill Haslam says he’ll propose a budget for next year without deciding whether to accept hundreds of millions of federal healthcare dollars. The move would not require matching state funds for a few years, so Haslam says he’ll decide later.

As part of last year’s Supreme Court ruling on the federal healthcare overhaul, Tennessee can choose whether to expand its Medicaid program TennCare. Tough call, Haslam says, but not critical to the budget he’ll propose later this month.

“There is no deadline on making that decision, so we will have a budget this time that we’ll present in twelve days that won’t address that question because we haven’t made that decision yet.”

Expanding TennCare could add coverage for around 200 thousand poor people, but would put the state on the hook to help pay tens of millions for it after a few years.

Last year Haslam held off a decision for months on whether the state would run its own insurance exchange. It would’ve been a website to help Tennesseans shopping for health insurance under the federal law. Haslam eventually ceded control to Washington.

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