Haslam Heads To Washington With Health Of Hospitals On His Mind

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that as of July 1, Tennessee is among six states still weighing options on Medicaid expansion. Others include Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Pennsylvania and Utah. Credit: TN Photo Services via Flickr

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that as of July 1, Tennessee is among six states still weighing options on Medicaid expansion. Others include Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Pennsylvania and Utah. Credit: TN Photo Services via Flickr

Job cuts and construction delays at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are weighing on Governor Bill Haslam. On Friday, he travels to Washington D.C. in hopes of hammering out a compromise on expanding the state’s Medicaid program – a move that has been characterized as vital to the health of Tennessee hospitals.

Without any kind of expansion in Medicaid – known as TennCare in the state – the Tennessee Hospital Association has warned that some facilities will close. Rural, community hospitals are the most vulnerable.

Governor Haslam points out that recent reductions at Vanderbilt have been blamed on a list of factors that include the indecision on Medicaid.

“But I don’t think we can ignore the fact that for hospitals, the situation is changing,” he told reporters Thursday.

Tennessee is one of only a handful of states that hasn’t officially said yes or no. The governor is trying to get approval for what he calls a “Tennessee Plan.” It would effectively let the state accept federal money for insuring more poor people without having to add any costs to the state budget.

Haslam says he doesn’t expect to come home from D.C. with an agreement in hand. And he says he’ll only take it to the legislature for its approval if he feels it really is different from the straight-ahead expansion.

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 Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published.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