Press Release from the Democratic Caucus of the Tennessee House of Representatives, March 27, 2014:
Today marks the one year anniversary of Governor Haslam’s “Tennessee plan” speech
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – At a press conference today, House Democrats joined together to mark the one year anniversary of Governor Haslam’s “Tennessee plan” speech to the General Assembly. Democrats called on the Governor and legislature to stop delaying and expand Medicaid now.
“It is well past time for Tennessee to join Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana and Pennsylvania in submitting a plan to the federal government to expand Medicaid,” said Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville). “While the ‘Tennessee plan’ will probably be less efficient and beneficial than a traditional Medicaid expansion, any plan would be better than no plan at all.”
“Tennessee is one of the least healthy states in America and the Department of Health has said their top two priorities are promoting healthy living and access to health services,” said Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville). “What better way to make sure Tennesseans are living healthy and have access to health care than by expanding Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of working men and women.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Tennessee ranked ninth in their list of the least healthy states in America. In 2013, Governor Haslam launched the “Healthier Tennessee” initiative to promote health and wellness citing Tennessee as being “one of the least healthy states in the nation.”
“We need real leadership today that will provide solutions, not more excuses,” said Rep. Joe Armstrong (D-Knoxville). “To the 161,000 Tennesseans who are too poor to buy health insurance on the exchange, but would be eligible for coverage under Medicaid expansion, it is time to call Governor Haslam and tell him to do his job and expand Medicaid now.”
According to estimates, 161,000 Tennesseans currently don’t make enough to qualify for subsidized health insurance through the Healthcare.gov exchange. Under the Affordable Care Act, this population was intended to be covered through the expansion of Medicaid, however due to the Supreme Court ruling, states have to opt-in to the Medicaid expansion program that is fully funded by the federal government for the first three years.