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As Tennessee unveils Medicaid expansion proposal, other states follow suit

Republican states looking to expand Medicaid in their own ways

Medicaid expansionTennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced an alternative to Medicaid expansion proposal Monday morning, making the Volunteer State the latest Republican stronghold to explore Medicaid options under the Affordable Care Act.

But the administration was quick to note that "we aren't expanding Medicaid. We unveiled Insure Tennessee," spokeswoman Laura Herzog told Politico.

States around the country hope to follow in Tennessee's footsteps by customizing their own Medicaid programs--but with a more conservative twist. Of course, they will need federal approval, added Politico.

For instance, in Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence (R) recently proposed to expand the state's Healthy Indiana Plan, which functions like a high-deductible plan and health savings account and requires new members to pay $15 to $25 monthly premiums.

In an attempt to reshape their states' social-welfare programs, many Republican governors, such as Scott Walker (Wis.), want mandated drug screenings for individuals who need nutrition or financial assistance, reported The Wall Street Journal.

"We want to give our governors the ability to craft their own proposals," said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) of Walker's efforts, according to the WSJ.

Republicans in Utah want to require the state to assist those who collect benefits through Medicaid with finding a job, notes the WSJ.

Meanwhile, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) plans to present legislators with a budget plan this week with an intent to expand Medicaid in his state, reports The Washington Post. In September, McAuliffe shared his Medicaid-alternative plan, but he quickly met opposition in the GOP-dominated House.

In the meantime, McAuliffe is ready for round two of Medicaid talk, Health and Human Resources Secretary William A. Hazel told reporters. He mentioned this is sure to be a big topic again come this January.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) wants to expand Medicaid in his state, but is set to face a GOP-controlled legislature that has never been willing to consider the idea, reports NPR. For his proposal to sell, Walker will have to make a strong case, says Sen. Anna MacKinnon (R). 

For more:
- here's Tennessee's proposal (.pdf)
- read the Politico piece
- check out the WSJ article
- here's the Post story
- check out the NPR piece

Related Articles:
Medicaid expansion update: Two states step forward, two step in place
Indiana will expand Medicaid if members pay premiums
Republican states interested in Medicaid expansion
Va. Gov. McAuliffe shares Medicaid-alternative plan