Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam may be able to negotiate beneficial terms for the state to participate in federally-funded Medicaid expansion. But his GOP colleagues in the Legislature may not let him get to that point. Republican bills before both chambers of the General Assembly would prohibit the governor from pursuing an expansion to TennCare, the state's expanded Medicaid program.
Haslam said last week the maneuvering in the Legislature hasn't stopped him from closely evaluating the prospect of increasing eligibility to 138 percent of poverty. Haslam says Tennessee could be granted flexibility on benefits for the estimated 150,000 people who would be added to the TennCare rolls. That flexibility would make the program more affordable in the years after the federal government stops covering 100 percent of the cost.