Mixed reaction to Gov. Haslam's Medicaid decision

6:41 PM, Mar 27, 2013   |    comments
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Wednesday's Medicaid expansion rejection by Governor Bill Haslam has created a ripple effect in doctor's offices here at home.

"To succeed, we need the cooperation of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington. We can't get the same assurances at this point. Until I get those assurances, I cannot recommend to you that we move forward with this plan," the governor said during a joint session Wednesday.

He said because of costs, the governor cannot put support behind this leg of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

"In the long term, lets find a solution that would take years to come up with, not just a quick fix for 2-3 years," said Dr. Roy King, a Knoxville physician who agreed with the governor's decision.

"Let's find a sustainable healthcare role and healthcare delivery for these people," he added.

The Knoxville Academy of Medicine, which represents more than 60-percent of all doctors in the area, also supports the governor's decision, stating healthcare should have a medical influence, not a political one.

"It'll have to be hard work from providers, all those involved with the delivery of healthcare... hospitals, physicians," said president Dr. Elise Denneny.

The governor proposed a separate "third option" that would use the federal funding to buy policies for the uninsured from private insurance companies. The proposal has not yet received a response from federal health officials.

Other officials have released statements about Gov. Haslam's decision.

"I applaud the Governor's decision. Expanding a broken system would do more harm than good. The Affordable Care Act left states with a great set of challenges and I don't envy the difficult decision the governor had to make. I have a great deal of respect for Governor Haslam, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to find commonsense solutions to ensure Tennesseans have access to affordable health care." - U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R)

"A great opportunity to expand essential health coverage to 300,000 low-wage earners -- servers, store clerks, farm hands -- has been squandered because of extreme politics and a failure of leadership," said Knoxville State Representative Gloria Johnson (D). "Every Tennessean who works for a living deserves the dignity and security of being able to go the doctor when they get sick or hurt."

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