Haslam’s Tennessee Plan would expand health coverage

The Tennessean, December 15, 2014

In a major policy move, Gov. Bill Haslam has announced the new Insure Tennessee plan, a two-year pilot program that would provide health care coverage to tens of thousands of Tennesseans who currently don't have access to health insurance or have limited options.

The plan would be leveraged with federal dollars, said Haslam, who has been working for more than a year on a Medicaid expansion plan that could gain approval from both federal officials and the Republican-dominated state legislature.

"We made the decision in Tennessee nearly two years ago not to expand traditional Medicaid," Haslam said. "This is an alternative approach that forges a different path and is a unique Tennessee solution. Our approach is responsible and reasonable, and I truly believe that it can be a catalyst to fundamentally changing health care in Tennessee," Haslam said.

Haslam said he plans to call a special session in January focused on the new Medicaid expansion plan.

Five key areas of the governor's plan include:

A fiscally sound and sustainable program;
Providing two new private market choices for Tennesseans;
Shifting the delivery model and payment of health care in Tennessee from fee-for-service to outcome-based;
Incentivizing Tennesseans to be more engaged and to take more personal responsibility in their health;
Preparing participants for eventual transition to commercial health coverage.
Halsam said the program will not create any new taxes for Tennesseans and will not add any additional cost to the state budget. The Tennessee Hospital Association has committed that the industry will cover any additional expenses created by the plan, he said.

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