The governor of the state has announced that the federal government will now be taking control.
According to Tennessee Governor, Bill Haslam, and an announcement that he made on Friday, the state will not be participating in a partnership with the federal government in order to create its health insurance marketplace.
This announcement was made following a submission of a letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary.
The governor, a republican, submitted the letter to the secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, saying that the model for the partnership is not capable of addressing his concerns. He referred to those worries as “aggressive federal timelines, a lack of true flexibility for states, and misguided federal policies.”
These were the same concerns that were put forth when deciding against a state run health insurance marketplace.
Governor Haslam pointed out in his rejection of a health insurance marketplace that was run entirely by the state government, back in December 2012. This most recent decision means that the federal government will have complete control over the exchange that will be available to individuals, families, and small businesses in Tennessee.
At the moment, there are an estimated 982,000 people in Tennessee without health insurance. The state’s estimates are that there will be about one third of them (300,000) who will use the exchange in order to purchase their coverage, though other estimates place that figure at twice that size.
According to the Tennessee Justice Center executive director, Gordon Bonnyman, it is understandable that the governor has justified his decision in the way that he has. Bonnyman’s group is one that is in support to expanded Medicaid access. That said, he still believes the rationale behind the rejection of the state’s partnership with the federal government was one that he could understand.
Bonnyman explained that “The governor is not alone in expressing concern about the delays in federal guidance and some of the difficulties states are having meeting the timelines.” This helps to show that even some of those in support of the healthcare reforms understand the governor’s choice not to run the health insurance exchange within the state.