Thursday, June 4, 2015

White House: Expanding TennCare Could Save Lives

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 2:25 PM

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Tennessee could avoid 220 deaths per year if lawmakers would expand TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program.

That’s according to a new study issued Thursday from the White House that says expanding the program would help low-income citizens by offering more access to insurance coverage, more access to care, improving health outcomes, and improving financial security.

Expanding the program would inject $1.77 billion into the state’s economy through federal funding in the next fiscal year, the report said.

“The administration is willing to work with any state interested in expanding Medicaid,” Vikki Wachino, acting director for the Center for Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program Services said in a statement. “We are committed to supporting state flexibility and working with states on innovative solutions that expand Medicaid to low-income individuals in accordance with the law’s goals and consumer protections, while securing quality, affordable health coverage and growing a state’s economy.”

The estimates in the report are from the White House Council of Economic Advisers. The report said expanding the program would:

• Give 179,000 people access to health insurance
• Allow 24,000 people to report being in good health
• Lower uncompensated care costs $190 million 

And:

• 16,000 fewer people would experience symptoms of depression
• 25,000 fewer people would have trouble paying bills due to paying medical costs

Tennessee is among 22 states in the nation that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam pitched his plan to expand Medicaid, called Insure Tennessee, to state lawmakers this year. But the proposal was quickly killed in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee by lawmakers who are on the state government’s health care plan.


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