Lawmaker Says TN Medicaid Bill Could Kill

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(Collierville, TN) A State Senator from Memphis says Tennessee Lawmakers are considering a bill that could cause the deaths of hundreds of people in the state.

State Senator Brian Kelsey is filing a bill that will stop the expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee, which is a provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Under the Affordable Healthcare Act over three hundred thousand Tennesseans will be added to Medicaid this year. 

Kelsey believes Tennessee tax payers cannot afford to expand the program as mandated by the federal government.

“Thankfully the Supreme Court this past summer says the state does not have to expand coverage under TN Care and that`s what we`re hoping Tennessee will do,” said Kelsey.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it's unconstitutional to make a state provide Medicaid for three hundred thousand low-income Tennesseans without health insurance. 

Kelsey's bill will leave coverage levels the same without expanding the program because of high costs to tax payers.

“Tennessee tax payers can simply not afford this expansion under TN Care.  We know Tennessee taxpayers will have to pay more than $200 Million a year for it,” said Kelsey.

Kelsey says the expansion would take hundreds of millions from other programs like education. 

But the Senate`s minority leader, Jim Kyle says this bill will kill people in the state.

“Mr. Kelsey does lots of things I don`t understand and this is one of them. Obviously our job is to help people and make things better for people and trying to provide people healthcare so they can live a longer life,” said Kyle.

Right now, before the expansion, over a quarter of the state`s budget goes to Medicaid.

Kelsey’s house co-sponsor has already filed the bill and Kelsey says he hopes to introduce it in the Senate next week.