Gov. Bill Haslam said on Thursday that he plans on sending federal health officials a proposal for expanding medicaid this fall. This comes a year and a half after Haslam first started talking about the “Tennessee Plan.”
Estimates project that that Medicaid expansion in Tennessee would cover an additional 180,000 low-income working people. Although the federal government has indicated that it will pay the vast bulk of the expansion, Haslam has remained wary of growing Medicaid coverage, which 28 other states have done.
Members of the state’s NAACP chapter held a protest on Thursday on the capitol to urge the governor to accept the federal funding and expand coverage, as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s nice to say, ‘let’s put politics aside.’ But at the end of the day, you also have to get it passed the legislature. So you better be able to get something that you can get 50 votes in one house, and 17 in the other,” Haslam told reporters Thursday.
Haslam’s announcement to send federal officials the state’s own expansion proposal follows the governor’s request that U.S. Health and Human Service officials send Tennessee a recommended course of action.
“They never really came back with anything, so we’re proceeding,” Haslam said.