Gov. Bill Haslam will travel to Washington, D.C., today for the second time in roughly a month, but it won't be to discuss the possibility of expanding the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.
The governor is scheduled to travel to the nation's capital to attend a summit of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Education and Workforce Program.
Haslam's trip to D.C. comes on the heels of a visit he made Aug. 23, when he was scheduled to discuss a proposal for expanding TennCare under the new health law by using federal dollars to purchase private insurance plans for the state's low-income residents. Under its current structure, the Affordable Care Act includes a federal offer to fully fund an expansion of Medicaid coverage to residents making up to 138 percent of poverty for three years, while rolling federal funding back to 90 percent through 2020.
For Tennessee, the offer amounts to an estimated $1.4 billion in aid and could be enough to keep some community and rural hospitals operating steadily. But Haslam has expressed concerns about long-term costs to the state of picking up the expenses and faces a Legislature vehemently opposed to proposals aligning with President Barack Obama's signature health policy.
Tennessee currently has approximately 1.2 million residents who receive a form of TennCare coverage.
According to a Knoxville News Sentinel report, Haslam said in May he would decide whether a deal could be reached to expand Medicaid "by this summer."
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