On the Tennessean’s Grand Divisions podcast with Joel Ebert and Natalie Allison this week, Tennessean writer Natalie Allison asked what bills will be most controversial this session, and after listing Medical Marijuana and school vouchers Lt. Gov. Randy Mcnally went on to mention Medicaid Expansion:
Mcnally told the Tennessean:
“On Medicaid Expansion… Senator Bailey is working on some different ideas to take and work with the governor on and try to get an amendment through that would address the population that’s below 138% of the poverty level. And address it on a sliding scale voucher type thing, health savings accounts, there’s a number of different options that we haven’t really fleshed out yet.”
“Under 138% of the poverty level” is where Medicaid expansion would draw the line. What Mcnally was talking about sure sounded a lot like Medicaid expansion. So Natalie Allison asked him about that:
“So will Republicans be pushing a bill to expand Medicaid in some instances, or…?”
Still sounding a bit confused, Mcnally went on:
“Well we’ll be I think looking at an effort to… a lot depends on what we think we can through CMS, but we’re looking at an effort to address the population that probably was most in need of insurance but was left out of health care… Our hope is it’s not expansion of Medicaid, it’s not Obamacare, and that’s – we’re just trying to take care of sick people that lack insurance mainly because they’re incomes are not at a rate that they can afford it.”
So it’s not Medicaid, or Obamacare, it just attempts to do the exact things Medicaid Expansion under Obamacare was trying to do… JUST FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T CALL IT MEDICAID EXPANSION OR OBAMACARE.
This might be a good time to point out that Medicaid Expansion is popular in Tennessee.
Still confused because Mcnally was sounding pretty pro-Medicaid expansion, the Natalie Allison pressed further:
So… you’re saying it’s not Medicaid expansion?”
At this point Senator Jack Johnson swoops in, noticing Mcnally is flailing and maybe almost about to support something that would actually help a lot of people, which would be truly awful.
“It absolutely is not… I want to be very clear about that, it’s not a proposal to expand medicaid. It’s a proposal to give us more flexibility with our existing medicaid dollars, ok? And if we’re given that flexibility we believe we can generate savings that will generate additional dollars with which we might be able to cover some additional people, or provide better services- better quality services. That’s one conversation and that needs to stay in its lane right there. Any conversation of drawing down additional federal dollars is a totally different conversation, ok? And I think maybe during some of this those two things have gotten interwoven.”
“All the reporters sitting there were pretty confused. We thought he was saying Republicans were going to launch a medicaid expansion effort this session. We eventually realized that wasn’t the case and went on to talk about the block grant program.”
“When we asked them how they were going to pay for that, there isn’t really a clear answer… the bill itself is pretty vague.”
NEW VIDEO: On The Republican-Proposed Medicaid Block Grants@VoteGloriaJ: “Block grants don’t expand anything. We need a remedy.” @JRClemmons: “They do nothing to save rural hospitals. It’s time for Medicaid Expansion. It’s time for @GovBillLee to lead.” pic.twitter.com/Ze1DPlozdP
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 12, 2019
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