Insure Tennessee fails to win the approval of a Senate committee
Insure Tennessee, an initiative that would have expanded access to health insurance in Tennessee, has failed to meet approval of a Senate committee for the second time. The initiative was meant to expand the state’s Medicaid program, which would have brought insurance coverage to some 280,000 people living in the state. Insure Tennessee was the endeavor of Governor Bill Haslam, who has been seeking to expand Medicaid in the state for some time.
Initiative was unable to gain legislative traction despite support from lawmakers and consumers
The initiative had won a great deal of support from lawmakers and those living in the state, but this support was not enough to see it through a Senate committee. Insure Tennessee would have required hospitals to contribute $74 million to the expansion of Medicaid, but the federal government would have covered 90% of the costs associated with the initiative, which were estimated to be $2.8 billion. With the Senate committee voting against Insure Tennessee, the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program may not occur this year.
Opponents believe that Insure Tennessee would have been a burden on the state
Opponents of Insure Tennessee had claimed that the initiative was “Obamacare” in disguise, suggesting that it would be bad for the state overall. The federal funding provided for the expansion of Medicaid would have been authorized through the Affordable Care Act, which would make the initiative associated with the health care reform law. The federal law calls for states to expand their Medicaid program, with the federal government offering financial assistance for such expansions.
Consumers may have to look elsewhere for the affordable health insurance coverage that they need
The expansion of Medicaid would have made health insurance coverage more accessible to many people living in Tennessee. Without Insure Tennessee, these people will have to look elsewhere for the coverage that they need. Unfortunately, coverage in the private market, and even that offered through an insurance exchange, may be too expensive for many consumers. Medicaid expansion would have provided these people with affordable coverage.