Tenn. - This week state lawmakers will consider whether or not to expand
TennCare. Sunday, dozens gathered on Legislative Plaza rallying against a
proposal to receive more than $1 billion in federal money over three years as
an incentive to expand the number of people eligible for the state's Medicaid
"What are we going to do
in three years when those funds are gone and the federal government does not
pay one red cent on it," Sen. Mae Beavers (R- Mt. Juliet) said.
It's a part of the Affordable
Care Act that could insure 300,000 more Tennesseans by the 2014-2015 fiscal
Within the crowd, supporters of
the TennCare expansion say caring for the growing number of the uninsured is
what taxpayers cannot afford.
"When people are getting
preventative care rather than emergency care, the cost is going to be so much
less to hospitals and insurance companies," supporter Ann Reuter said.
"They get this mindset
that tax money is free money," expansion opponent Dave Backs said.
"It ain't free money. We have to pay for it."
The question in this debate is:
what's the real price to pay for people to have access to the medical care they
According to the General
Assembly's fiscal review committee, the TennCare expansion could bring in $1.4
billion in federal money. That's why the Nashville Chamber of Commerce says it
supports the expansion, saying it will create jobs and offset cuts that are
planned for the healthcare industry.