Now that PA's GOP Governor has agreed to expand Medicaid, will Tennessee be next? (UPDATE: Or perhaps Wyoming?)
A few days ago, news broke that Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Corbett, whose re-election numbers are in the toilet and who is desperate to get Pennsylvanians to like him, has finally agreed to the Medicaid expansion provision in the Affordable Care Act.
While "doing a single decent, human thing after a couple of years of being a jerk about it" shouldn't really count as being praiseworthy, I suppose he deserves at least a small golf clap, just as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Ohio Gov. John Kasich did.
Anyway, next up to bat would appear to be Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam:
In a move that could mean health coverage for thousands of Tennesseans, Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that the state may soon submit a proposal to Washington to expand Tennessee's Medicaid program but did not release any new details on how it might work.
This would be the first time for the governor to actually submit a plan. If approved by federal officials and the state legislature, the plan would help Tennesseans caught in the coverage gap of the Affordable Care Act, which has left 162,000 Tennesseans without health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Of course, Haslam isn't willing to simply expand Medicaid; he's insisting on an Arkansas-style "private option" system in which Medicaid dollars are instead used to pay the premiums for private policies for those who qualify. Ironically, this amounts to giving a 100% tax subsidy to people for purchasing a QHP...enacted by the very people who claim to be furious about other people receiving a 10%, 20% or 50% subsidy:
Haslam ruled out expansion of a traditional Medicaid model and said he favored a plan to leverage federal funds to, instead, help the poor buy private health insurance. Haslam said then that a "Tennessee Plan" should require copayments, which traditional Medicaid does not, so people would have "some skin in the game."
But, whatever. It'll do.
UPDATE: Thanks to another contributor for giving me a heads' up regarding this story from a month ago out of Wyoming:
Just weeks before the primary election for Wyoming governor, incumbent Matt Mead surprised some members of the public by saying he’s exploring options for Medicaid expansion.
In an interview on Wyoming Public Radio, Mead said, “I don’t think we can just sit here and do nothing.” He voiced concerns about the $200 million in uncompensated care at Wyoming hospitals, then added that Wyoming is missing out on millions of Medicaid dollars that other states are receiving under the expanded program.