GOP legislators spurned renewed Haslam pitch for Medicaid expansion in private meeting

Gov.  Bill Haslam asked Republican legislative leaders earlier this month if they would reconsider Medicaid expansion legislation, which was rejected when he initially proposed the idea three years ago, reports The Tennessean. House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Speaker Randy McNally were open to discussing the idea but others were not and the notion was dropped.

Alongside Haslam for the early morning meeting was Wendy Long, the head of TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program. The previous week, Long had met with Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, when the administration joined U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander on a trip to Nashville.

“In both meetings the current state of play at the national and state level regarding Medicaid expansion, work requirements and cost sharing were discussed, among a variety of other topics,” said Sarah Tanksley Stockton, a TennCare spokeswoman.

On April 4, the group discussed filing a House or Senate resolution or calling a special legislative session to receive the support of the legislature for any proposed expansion.

…Along with McNally and Harwell, other lawmakers present included Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, (House Majority Leader Glen) Casada, GOP caucus chairmen Bill Ketron and Ryan Williams, Sens. Ferrell Haile and Bo Watson and Reps. Steve McDaniel and Charles Sargent.

… Key critics of the latest effort were Ketron and Casada. They reiterated concerns raised in 2015: Any expansion would likely include state costs unforeseen or downplayed by Haslam.

Note: Senate Health Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) tells the Johnson City Press he didn’t know about the meeting and wasn’t invited, but would have been open to Haslam’s proposal.

“Now that all the Obama stuff has died down, if (Haslam) tried his Insure Tennessee again, it might pass because it’s a market-based plan. It’s a personal responsibility plan. You have to do something to get something,” said Crowe, who helped pass the proposal out of his committee in 2015.

7 Responses to GOP legislators spurned renewed Haslam pitch for Medicaid expansion in private meeting

  • Lee Bailey says:

    I would like to see legitimate Medicaid changes that would help retirees who genuinely need help with home health care or skilled nursing care. I currently have been jumping through the hoops to get my 89-year-old Mother the care she needs, and there has to be a better way to facilitate this without opening it up to abuse by younger folks and those who don’t have the same needs.

  • Susan E Gingrich says:

    Expanding Medicaid would be an unwise decision for TN taxpayers. The state needs to increase oversight and auditing on existing recipients and providers of all welfare related services, especially TennCare, Disability, and Food Stamps to detect fraud & abuse and disenroll those no longer eligible. The state could actually save money instead of spending more.

  • Brenda Miller says:

    Why does Haslam insist on adding more people to the Medicaid rolls? This expansion was a part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). This is an example of why Trump won. Republicans expanding government.

  • Brenda Miller says:

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports Medicaid covers 70 million Americans with a cost to tax payers of 596 billion dollars. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid wasted 37 billion in improper payments in 2017.

  • Jeff Hartline says:

    CYA move for ETN Rinos. Sargent and McDaniel are retiring.

  • Tommy Ray McAnally says:

    Why would anyone trust Bill I passed liquor SALES on SUNDAYS Halsam? If the health care DOES NOT cover undocumented and has NO loopholes. All lobbyist excluded and put this health language in layman terms.

  • James White says:

    Congressman Marsha Blackburn bashes TennCare as an example of how bad Obama’s proposed Universal Health Care Plan will be for all of America. Well, that’s really nice but she fails to note the fact that she campaigned for Mitt Romney whose Massachusetts Universal Health Care Plan is Bankrupting that state.
    Obama may be taking this nation over the edge with regards to health care reform but it was Congressman Blackburn’s favorite yank that gave him the map to follow.

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