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VIDEO: Haslam on ACA, Health Exchange Dilemma

Governor sticking with “anything-feds-can-do-we-can-do-better” refrain

Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters Thursday he’s always thought the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be expensive to enact and costly to administer for the state.

And he’s seen nothing yet to change his mind.

“My initial concerns about the Affordable Care Act have only been realized the more I see the impact that it is going to have on our state budget, on small businesses and on providers. So, my original concern has been highlighted the more I have gotten into this,” Haslam said at a press conference following a budget hearing for TennCare, the state’s government-run medical program for the poor.

“But it is what it is, and we have to be prepared to deal with it,” he added.

Haslam is supposed to announce by the end of the week whether Tennessee plans to create its own health insurance exchange or let the federal government run one here itself. The governor seems to leaning toward pushing for the state to run the exchanges.

“I have always said from the very beginning that anything we can run instead of the federal government, we are going to run it cheaper and we are going to run it better, I just honestly believe that,” Haslam said.

“There is going to be an exchange in Tennessee — either the feds are going to run it or we are. So it is sort for us of a choice of picking between the lesser of two evils,” he added.

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