Tennessee Senate Republicans are proposing legislation that seeks to prevent expansion of the state Medicaid program under provisions of President Obama's health care law.
The measure, called "TennCare Fiscal Responsibility Act", was filed Thursday by Senator Brian Kelsey of Germantown and has 15 Senate co-sponsors. A similar version of the proposal was filed last week in the House. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to opt out of Medicaid expansion without losing pre-existing federal Medicaid funding.
One lesser-known aspect of the Affordable Care Act is it’s reliance on state health cooperatives — which work separate of the state- or federally run health exchange, but are free to offer their own brand of insurance on the exchange.
But recent Congressional deal-making is putting those co-ops in danger.
While states are getting grants to fund their exchanges, co-ops were getting federal loans which had to be paid back within five years.
But the Washington Post reports that the fiscal cliff deal struck weeks ago kills off the co-op loan program for many states. But because of early planning, the Kentucky Health Cooperative isn’t in any funding danger, spokesman Jim McHanie says.
“Our funding is in place and we’re moving right ahead in fact we’re in the start-up phase of development and we plan to start offering coverage effective January 1, 2014,” he says.
As the 2013 Kentucky legislative session begins, Tea Party activists are encouraging lawmakers to abandon the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — in the state because of fiscal and health care concerns.
About 50 activists rallied in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday; they wanted their state legislators to hear their concerns as the 2013 legislative session began.
Kentucky can’t afford running its own health exchanges or to expand Medicaid, argued David Adams, a rally organizer.
“It doesn’t take a forensic accountant to look at our fiscal situation and realize that we have no business getting into this sandbox whatsoever,” Adams says.