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Keeping politics out of health reforms

Keeping politics out of health reforms

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012 7:00 pm

Tennessee’s Republican elected officials spend a lot of time complaining about the federal government interfering in state matters.
So, what happens when state government has a chance to set up its own health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act? Gov. Bill Haslam instead defers to a federally run exchange.
Republican Haslam explained that his decision to punt was not about politics, but rather a business decision he reached mainly because the federal government has not provided enough information about the latitude states would be given to operate their own exchanges.
Still, the governor’s decision was made as many GOP legislators expressed their opposition to the state exchange and as tea party protesters on Dec. 5 gathered outside the state Capitol to call on Haslam to reject the creation of a state-run health insurance exchange.
His decision to defer is a bit disappointing because it takes Tennessee out of the discussion of how the exchange — a one-stop marketplace for consumers and businesses to compare competing commercial health insurance plans and buy the plans they choose — could work best for the state’s citizens.
This is about making sure that all Tennesseans have access to adequate health care, whether they get their insurance from an employer, a health insurance exchange or through Medicaid.

Published in The WCP 12.20.12

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