Bill Haslam is curious why Tennessee’s attorney general has thus far resisted calls to challenge the federal government’s health care overhaul in court — and the new governor says he is planning to ask the state’s chief litigator that question himself soon.
“I’m going to talk with Attorney General (Robert) Cooper, get his feelings about why he didn’t want to join that, and then look at the effectiveness of whether us joining makes a big difference for the State of Tennessee, for our people,” said Haslam during a meeting Friday with The Tennessean editorial board.
At last count, about half the states in the nation had initiated — or announced their intention to participate in — legal action against the controversial health care reform legislation passed by Congressional Democrats and signed by President Obama in March 2010.
The governor’s statement comes toward the end of the below video, in which Haslam also explains what he finds most objectionable about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Calling the federal reforms “the wrong approach,” Haslam said he believes Washington’s mandates will add $250-$300 million in additional costs to the state government budget.
Haslam also foresees a certain amount of complexity in setting up the standardized health insurance exchanges outlined in the Affordable Care Act. “There’s a whole range of decision around exchanges that are really important,” he said.
“I don’t think the health care plan is good for Tennessee because of the (cost). I don’t know where that $300 million is going to come from, I really don’t,” said Haslam. “What I’ve said in the past is, it is not about whether we need reform, because we do need reform, I’m just not certain this was the right approach to it. All we did was take what we are doing now with health care and expand who was covered. We haven’t done anything about costs.”