That’s 7,000 more than the state figured would sign up as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to TennCare Director Darin Gordon, who says about 1,000 have been able to so far.
All together, organic increases in TennCare’s budget are expected to total $180 million out of $300 million new dollars the state expects to have to play with next year. Officials expect another $57 million in built-in education formula increases to also eat a chunk of available revenues next year.
“Will there be some cuts we’ll have to make in TennCare, you bet,” Gov. Bill Haslam said after yesterday's TennCare budget hearing.
The state also expects it will have to close out the 16,000-member CoverTN limited benefit health insurance program come the first of the year, said Gordon, although he said he thinks there's support in his agency to use reserve funds to keep the AccessTN program open for another year.
Joe Carr says he's gotten Lamar Alexander off the fence on Syria, Kathleen Sebelius, a bill banning late-term abortions and the plan to re-open the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
“I think it’s interesting that on these four issues it took a press release from our campaign to get him off the fence,” Carr said last week.
“I think it would be easier to respond to the values and the principles of the voters if I was the next United States senator rather than try to convince the current U.S. senator by press release to do the same,” he added.
Alexander, running for a third Senate term, fired back in an interview Friday with Times Free Press editors and reporters.
“I don’t think I read his press releases,” he said. “I make my decisions as the issues are presented to me and I try to do it consistent with what I believe.”
Regarding his signing onto the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” Alexander said, “Well, I’ve always done that. I’ve been pro-life. I’ve always earned the majority of female voters as well as male voters. Pro-life is not new to me. But I’m also passing the ‘PREEMIE Bill.”
If Volkswagen decides to pair up with the United Auto Workers union, the outcome may not bode well for the company expanding operations in Tennessee, said Gov. Bill Haslam.
Haslam sat down with high-ranking Volkswagen labor official Bernd Osterloh this week where he heard about the culture of the German company’s works councils before pushing back against VW working with the UAW to create them.
VW is mulling whether to build a new SUV in Tennessee or Mexico at the same time it hears state political figures discourage the company from engaging with the UAW. Under U.S. law, the way to develop works councils — which are dear to VW and used in all its plants besides its sole U.S. location in Chattanooga — is through a third party union.
But while Osterloh told Haslam said this week the company’s decision where to expand will be based on labor costs and access to suppliers, the governor argues a decision to pair with the union will indirectly affect the viability of expanding operations in Tennessee.
“It’s hard to consider a scenario in which labor costs are helped by the UAW coming in,” said Haslam in describing what he considers the cons for VW. “And I know that bringing suppliers close will be more difficult. We’ve heard that from suppliers we’ve been working with, saying if UAW comes, ‘I don’t think we’ll locate one of our facilities near the Chattanooga plant.’”
The conversation between the governor and labor leader comes after months of building tension over working with the union, including debate within the plant over votes on whether to unionize.