Haslam On Medicaid Deal: Real Progress This Summer Or Bust

“It’s not a question of lack of dialogue,” Haslam says of the state’s wrangling with Washington officials.  “I think our response has been, ‘If it looks just like expanding Medicaid, it probably won’t work in Tennessee, but you keep telling us there’s some flexibility, so let’s talk about what that looks like.’” Credit Leah Terry / WPLN

“It’s not a question of lack of dialogue,” Haslam says of the state’s wrangling with Washington officials. “I think our response has been, ‘If it looks just like expanding Medicaid, it probably won’t work in Tennessee, but you keep telling us there’s some flexibility, so let’s talk about what that looks like.’” Credit Leah Terry / WPLN

If negotiations to expand health coverage for poor people in Tennessee using federal money don’t show progress this summer, Gov. Bill Haslam says they might not ever.  Haslam says the state is still discussing the matter with federal officials.

Haslam is looking for a way to accept hundreds of millions of Medicaid dollars, without drawing ire from lawmakers who want nothing to do with Obamacare.  And he pointed to a poll out this week from Vanderbilt:

“If you looked at it in terms of ‘do you think we should expand Medicaid,’ the answer is yes.  ‘Do you like Obamacare,’ the answer was no.”

With the federal healthcare overhaul poised to take effect next year, Haslam says he’s hoping to move the ball down the field quickly.

“I think if we haven’t made real progress by this summer it will show that we’re not going to, quite frankly.”

A deal would help thousands of the state’s working poor afford healthcare.


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 Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published.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.