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Nashville, Tenn. –
Michele Johnson, Executive Director of the Tennessee Justice Center, said the following about the state seeking a Medicaid waiver for a safety net fund to pay providers for treating people without health insurance:
“The state’s request for $104 million to reimburse providers who provide care to uninsured people is not the same as providing coverage to them and doesn’t guarantee that providers will treat these uninsured patients.
The better option on the table to actually protect people who are uninsured is to simply check a box and accept $1.4 billion each year to provide reliable, comprehensive coverage through Medicaid expansion.
It’s a great aim to make sure that providers get paid for the care they provide, but it assumes that uninsured people are able to get testing and treatment in the first place. The evidence shows that this is just not true. Without health insurance, you are less likely to seek and get the care that you need. During this pandemic, the failure to give everyone access to care puts us all at risk.
The need for Medicaid expansion is imperative, especially with yesterday’s announcement of the closure of Decatur County General Hospital. We need hospitals open and more Tennesseans to be able to get care now more than ever before.
It’s also not likely to be approved, as no other states have seen similar waivers approved. We call on Governor Lee to explain why he rejects $1.4 billion at no cost to the state and instead is pursuing a weaker and less certain alternative.”