Haslam Wants Deal on Tennessee Medicaid Expansion

Tennessee isn’t saying “yes” to expanding the state’s Medicaid program known as TennCare. But it’s not saying “no” either. Gov. Bill Haslam made the announcement this morning to a joint assembly of the legislature, telling lawmakers he’s been working toward a “third option.”

“To leverage the federal dollars available to our state to transform health care in Tennessee without expanding our TennCare rolls,” he said.

Haslam says he’d like to use the federal money to buy private health insurance for Tennesseans who have no other way to get it. However, he still hasn’t gotten approval from the federal government, so he tells lawmakers he won’t be figuring the money into his annual budget.

Republican states have increasingly come around to expanding their Medicaid programs. This week Arkansas also announced a kind of hybrid plan.