TN House Dems: Haslam Hurting TN by Not Expanding Medicaid

Press release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus; July 2, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Wednesday, July 2, 2014) – A new report released by the White House Council of Economic Advisers titled “Missed Opportunities: The consequences of state decisions not to expand Medicaid,” lays out the fiscal, economic and moral failure caused by the Haslam administration’s refusal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee.

“How much more proof does the Governor and this Republican majority need to realize they are hurting Tennesseans by playing politics with Medicaid?” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “You don’t have to be an economist to understand the positive impact expansion would have on our economy and our citizens’ lives.”

Tennessee is one of 24 states listed in the report that has refused to participate in the Medicaid expansion, which would be fully-funded by the federal government until the end of 2016 and would give working men and women up to 138% of the federal poverty level access to health care coverage.

“It is gut-wrenching to think of all the women whose lives could be saved through early detection of breast and cervical cancer,” said Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis). “This is an issue that should transcend politics. We have the opportunity to help so many hardworking families in a way that boosts our economy and creates jobs – I just can’t fathom how people of faith and good conscience could refuse to act.”

The report by the Council of Economic Advisers forecasts the benefits of Medicaid expansion for states if they would have joined the 26 other states, along with the District of Columbia, in participating in the Medicaid expansion. The results for Tennessee are as follows:

Health and Well-being of Tennesseans

The number of Tennesseans with insurance coverage would have increased by 234,000 people by the end of 2016 if Governor Haslam and the Republican majority expanded Medicaid.

14,000 women in Tennessee would be receiving cancer detecting Pap smears, along with 9,500 more women who could catch breast cancer early through mammogram screenings.

56,000 more Tennesseans would have a usual source of clinic care, with 27,000 more Tennesseans receiving all the medical care they require due to the 632,000 additional physician visits each year.

As a result of Medicaid expansion, the number of Tennesseans experiencing depression would have decreased by 19,000, with 31,000 more Tennesseans reporting good, very good or excellent health.

Health and Well-being of Tennessee’s Economy

If Governor Haslam would do the right thing, 10,500 fewer Tennesseans would be stuck paying catastrophic out-of-pocket health care costs each year, while 33,300 fewer people would have to take out loans to pay for their medical bills.

Tennessee’s gross domestic product would increase by $3,810,000,000 between 2014-2017 if we expanded Medicaid, thanks to the $5,130,000,000 increase in federal expenditures in Tennessee, resulting in 21,700 jobs creased between 2014 and 2017.

The full “Missed Opportunities” report can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/missed_opportunities_medicaid.pdf