Tags: Healthcare Reform | tennessee | healthcare | haslam | obamacare

Forbes Blog: Tenn. Health Plan Is 'Cash Handout' to Already Insured

By    |   Tuesday, 13 January 2015 09:34 AM

Tennessee GOP Gov. Bill Haslam has unveiled his own Obamacare plan that would hand out vouchers to people who are already covered by employer-sponsored plans.

The Volunteer Plan will be offered to people who already have access to insurance through their workplace and whose employer is willing to cover at least 50 percent of the cost of their premiums. Those eligible would get a voucher equivalent to what it would otherwise cost the state to give them benefits through the state's Medicaid program, TennCare, reports an opinion piece in the Forbes blog, The Apothecary.

"We made the decision in Tennessee nearly two years ago not to expand traditional Medicaid," Haslam said in his announcement of the two-year pilot program.

"This is an alternative approach that forges a different path and is a unique Tennessee solution. This plan leverages federal dollars to provide healthcare coverage to more Tennesseans, to give people a choice in their coverage, and to address the cost of healthcare, better health outcomes and personal responsibility."

The Forbes blog about the program notes that between 125,000 and 150,000 people who already have insurance will qualify for the cash handouts under Haslam's plan.

"This means that a new class of able-bodied adults who already have private insurance will be told that they can keep their existing insurance, but simply shift the costs of their premiums and out-of-pocket expenses to taxpayers," said the blog, written by Nic Horton, Jonathan Ingram and Josh Archambault of the Foundation for Government Accountability.

"Employers will also be shifting some of their cost onto taxpayers as well, as many would simply drop their level of support down to 50 percent. Who would pass a deal like that?"

The authors said that similar programs already exist in 39 states for Medicaid before Obamacare was enacted. The difference is that the Tennessee program will expand coverage to a new class of working adults who have never before qualified for federal assistance.

"Some lawmakers have expressed concern that the Volunteer Plan will be ripe for waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer resources. They're right to worry," the Forbes opinion piece said.

"Thanks to Haslam's plan to send cash to privately insured able-bodied adults, this could be one of the most expensive Obamacare expansions yet."

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Tennessee GOP Gov. Bill Haslam's own Obamacare plan would hand out vouchers to able-bodied people who are already covered by employer-sponsored plans, reports an opinion piece in the Forbes blog, The Apothecary.
tennessee, healthcare, haslam, obamacare
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 09:34 AM
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