Gov. Bill Haslam says he understands why some state lawmakers are demanding more details about his plan to expand health coverage for the poor.
Nearly a month has passed since he said the proposal would be coming, but it still hasn’t been released, a situation that has many conservatives concerned. But Haslam told reporters Wednesday that the proposal, which he’s calling Insure Tennessee, will be out this week — well before the state House and Senate have to start debating it.
“This is a big deal, and we want the legislators to know exactly what it is that we’re proposing, so this will give everybody two or three weeks to review it,” he said. “Obviously we’re hurrying as much as we can to get the waiver finished.”
Haslam says Washington officials generally like his idea to expand Medicaid through health savings accounts or vouchers for employer-provided insurance. But the federal government and the legislature both must sign off before it can be enacted.
State lawmakers will debate Insure Tennessee in a special session later this month. Some conservative lawmakers say they’re already getting “cold feet” about the plan, and Haslam says he’ll need overwhelming support from Democrats to see it passed.
“We knew up front that this would be a controversial proposal,” he said. “Obviously, everybody has to dig into that and decide for themselves.”