Haslam Plans Another Try For "Tennessee Plan" Healthcare Deal

Jul 10, 2014

Credit Matt Moon, WUOT News

Governor Bill Haslam hasn't yet given up on his plan for a compromise healthcare measure, and he plans to bring it up when he meets with the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary this week in Nashville.

The National Governors Association meeting opened Thursday in the Music City. Chief executives from the fifty states are in town to exchange ideas on policy and governance. Gov. Haslam planned to sit down with HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell for a conversation on the "Tennessee Plan," a compromise measure that Haslam prefers to expanding the state's Medicaid rolls.

Haslam and other state leaders have expressed concerns about who would shoulder the financial burden for the expansion once federal money starts to ratchet down. Haslam's plan calls for Tennessee to accept federal money, but only for the purpose of helping uninsured Tennesseans purchase their own health coverage on insurance exchanges.

Haslam's compromise plan needs federal support to succeed. So far, that support hasn't been found. The idea never got much traction with health officials under Burwell's predecessor at HHS, Kathleen Sebelius. Governor Haslam hopes he'll fare better with Burwell.