January 1, 2015

EVEN IDEOLOGUES LIKE FREE MONEY:

Tennessee's Medicaid Deal Dodges A Partisan Fight (NPR, DECEMBER 28, 2014)

Expanding Medicaid has until recently been seen as a political poison pill in Tennessee. But the hospital lobby has struck a unique deal with Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to pay for the expansion, a move that has paved the way for greater GOP support.

Hospital administrators saw no other choice, says Craig Becker, president of the Tennessee Hospital Association.

"We basically left over $800 million on the table in federal dollars, which is a lot of money that could've done a lot of different things," Becker says, referring to the new Medicaid money Tennessee turned away in 2014.

"Look, we're stressed," he says. "Each individual hospital has gone to [Haslam] and said, 'Look we're gonna have to lay people off.' We've seen layoffs here. We've seen hospitals close, and they're saying, 'We're not just crying wolf here.' "

The association will pay for the state's contribution under the deal -- taking state taxpayers off the hook. It's not the first time the hospital group has helped finance the state's Medicaid program.

"I've heard from several of my counterparts, and they have all said the same thing -- that they're really hopeful that perhaps their states will follow the lead of Tennessee," Becker says.

Tennessee's Senate leader, Ron Ramsey, who once fiercely opposed Medicaid expansion, now says it's an "opportunity that must be taken seriously."

Posted by at January 1, 2015 1:16 PM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« WANT REAL SEPARATION? CONVERT IT ALL TO OPEN INTELLIGENCE: | Main | JEB'S NOT JUST FORCING REPUBLICANS OUT OF THE RACE: »