NASHVILLE (press release)—A statewide group of about 80 business, health care and civic groups have formed the Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee to deliver advocacy in support of the Insure Tennessee plan introduced Monday by Gov. Bill Haslam.
Coalition members include the Tennessee Business Roundtable, chambers of commerce, health care providers, businesses and civic organizations—located in communities from Memphis to Tri-Cities. Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee this morning launched a campaign website—www.CoalitionForAHealthyTennessee.com—and its members began a statewide effort to support legislative passage of Insure Tennessee.
“The business community has been skeptical of any type of health care reform in the state, but we have listened to Gov. Haslam and his proposal is clearly not just Medicaid expansion. This is a Tennessee solution to a Tennessee problem,” said coalition spokesman Charlie Howorth, Executive Director of the Tennessee Business Roundtable.
“This coalition applauds Governor Haslam for developing a unique, market-based solution that departs from the traditional Washington way of expanding Medicaid,” Howorth said. “Tennessee is our great state, but it is one of the unhealthiest states in the nation, a fact which poses risk to the goals all of us have for economic opportunity and quality of life. Expanding access to coverage for the working poor must be part of the solution to improve health of our citizens. The bottom line is that this plan will improve the health of Tennesseans, which will directly benefit the health of our rural and urban community workforces and our economy.”
Without the governor’s plan, Tennessee will pay an estimated $7.8 billion worth of taxes towards other states’ health care programs between 2013 and 2022, according to a 2014 report from the Urban Institute.
“Gov. Haslam’s plan will ensure that the billions of dollars Tennesseans will pay in Medicaid taxes in the coming years will stay in our state to provide care for our fellow citizens and contribute to our own economy instead of going to places like California, New York and Connecticut as is happening right now.”
Additional reasons for the Coalition’s support of Insure Tennessee include:
- Positive impact to health outcomes. Tennessee now ranks No. 45 among all states in the most recent America’s Health Rankings, an annual analysis of the health of the nation conducted by UnitedHealth Foundation. As access to coverage and care is a contributing factor to Tennessee’s chronically poor condition, Insure Tennessee would provide access to hundreds of thousands of working Tennesseans.
- Benefits for all of Tennessee. The plan ensures access to health care in all 95 counties, support for community hospitals that serve as critical lifelines and stimulate our economy.
- Sound fiscal policy for Tennessee. Insure Tennessee will not create any new taxes or divert state revenues from other priorities. The governor’s plan, which is based on private health market principles, relies on currently paid Medicaid taxes to draw matching federal funds, and requires patients to participate financially.
The Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee will regularly conduct education and advocacy events and provide data-based information in support of the Insure Tennessee proposal.
For more information, visit coalitionforahealthytennessee.com. The site features the Haslam Administration’s proposed Insure Tennessee plan, information on the benefits of expanded coverage and who will benefit, and a full roster of coalition members. Tennessee groups and individuals that want to join the effort are encouraged to go to the site to sign up for information and updates.