Alexander, Corker Urge Quick Approval Of Governor’s Request For Flexibility To Provide Health Care To 175,000 Tennesseans

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tennessee Republican Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker on Thursday urged the Obama administration to quickly consider Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s request for flexibility in using the federal dollars provided to expand health care coverage to 175,000 Tennesseans under the new health care law.

In a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Senators Alexander and Corker said: “We write to ask that you give timely and speedy consideration to a request announced today by Governor Bill Haslam to provide health care coverage to 175,000 Tennesseans by leveraging available federal dollars in the new exchange.

"Nashville is the health care services capital of the country and if your Department would support Tennessee in doing what the state does best, Tennessee will continue to find innovative ways to provide better care for its citizens. We urge you to work with Governor Haslam to implement his vision for achieving quality health care for Tennesseans by Tennesseans, particularly for those who currently do not have health insurance.”

The senators also noted that they last week introduced a bipartisan budget amendment to end the department’s practice of stalling state Medicaid waiver applications, in some instances for years, which has slowed innovations in care for Medicaid patients and impeded states’ ability to manage their annual budget process.

The senators added: “In this time of state budget constraints it is more important than ever that states have the necessary flexibility to determine how best to care for its citizens.”

The full text of the letter is below:

March 28, 2013

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary of Health and Human Services

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20201

Dear Secretary Sebelius:
 
We write to ask that you give timely and speedy consideration to a request announced today by Governor Bill Haslam to provide health care coverage to 175,000 Tennesseans by leveraging available federal dollars in the new exchange. Nashville is the health care services capital of the country and if your Department would support Tennessee in doing what the state does best, Tennessee will continue to find innovative ways to provide better care for its citizens. We urge you to work with Governor Haslam to implement his vision for achieving quality health care for Tennesseans by Tennesseans, particularly for those who currently do not have health insurance.
 
Last week, we introduced a bipartisan amendment to the budget which would help ensure a smooth timeline for states and the federal government to decide on Medicaid waiver requests.  In this time of state budget constraints it is more important than ever that states have the necessary flexibility to determine how best to care for its citizens.
 
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.  Should your staff have questions please have them contact our staff, Alicia Hennie at 202-xxx-xxxx, or Mike Bassett at 202-xxx-xxxx.
 
Sincerely,
 
Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker



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