Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) has reached an agreement with the Obama administration to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Haslam’s plan gives Medicaid enrollees two options: They can participate in a slightly modified version of traditional Medicaid or receive a voucher to pay for private health coverage through their employer.
“Some might ask why is a conservative Republican announcing we’re going to do this. No one has ever argued that we’re going to end Medicaid,” Haslam said at a press conference announcing the plan.
“The discussion has always been how do we do that in a responsible way,” he added. “It’s our hope that this opens the door in the future for innovation within our existing Medicaid program.”
Haslam, the new chair of the Republican Governors Association, said he would call a special legislative session in January for state lawmakers to consider the plan. It is expected to cover more than 160,000 low-income Tennesseans.