Is the Medicaid Expansion Battle Over?

Date: January 31, 2018

Despite offers of compromise, the effort to get Medicaid expansion passed in Tennessee may finally be dead.

Gov. Bill Haslam said he doesn’t intend to bring back Insure Tennessee, which was his 2015 plan to expand Medicaid eligibility, and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell have also noted that there isn’t much support among Republicans for another such proposal. Insure Tennessee failed in the Senate mostly because of requirements that the state provide a match to the federal funds. In light of the already ballooning TennCare costs—which had previously forced the state to kick 160,000 people off the rolls in the early 2000s—approving another expansion was risky.

Democrats and others are in support of Medicaid expansion have offered to institute insurance copayments and work requirements for coverage, but the majority consensus is that another massive expansion of the healthcare program is simply not affordable. Time will tell, of course, whether the rising danger of more hospitals closing will present an opening for a compromise bill.


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