On the heels of a new White House Council of Economic Advisors report on the consequences of states failing to expand their Medicaid systems, Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) renewed his call for Governor Bill Haslam to swiftly expand TennCare. Among other damaging effects of the Governor's failure to act for the citizens of Tennessee, this report shows that 234,000 citizens who would be eligible for health insurance coverage under TennCare will not be covered in 2016 and that more than 40,000 residents will face financial hardship, many catastrophically, as a result of not being covered by an expanded TennCare program.
"Today's report confirms what we already knew: that Governor Haslam's refusal to expand TennCare has disastrous consequences for the people of Tennessee," said Congressman Cohen. "By not expanding our state's Medicaid program, the Governor is conveying a message that the State has little concern for the neediest, sickest, and most desperate of its citizens. While this may not be his intention, the reality of the situation is that 234,000 of our state's most needy are going or will go without the health coverage that they need and should have. I remain committed to ensuring that all Tennesseans are able to take advantage of the important protections made available by the President's landmark Affordable Care Act, and I am once again calling on the Governor to do the right thing, take swift action, and expand our state's Medicaid program."
Several times this year, Congressman Cohen has offered to help the Tennessee Governor extend health coverage to those who cannot afford coverage and are unable to take advantage of important protections of President Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) because of the state's inaction. In a recent letter to the Governor on this topic, Congressman Cohen also highlighted how a number of conservative governors--including Ohio's John Kasich and Arizona's Jan Brewer--have worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand Medicaid coverage to their states' less fortunate.