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Legislative Review: Tennessee Hospital Assoc.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  WMOT is again this year asking news makers from across the political spectrum to comment on the just concluded 108th Tennessee General Assembly.

Today we hear from Craig Becker, President of the Tennessee Hospital Association. Becker says the year’s biggest legislative disappointment was the state’s failure to accept the federal expansion of Medicaid.

Becker says failing to accept the federal money is costing Tennessee billions of dollars a year, dollars that could have been spent on care for the state’s poorest residents.

“There’s still 200,000 Tennesseans without any insurance who are very low income people. Generally, they’re the working poor who do not have health care coverage, and they generally tend to be the ones who are the most expensive.”

Becker says the association was pleased that the legislature did at least agree to renew the hospital assessment partnership. Under the deal, Tennessee hospitals put up $450 million so that the State of Tennessee can qualify to receive $1.2 billion in federal Medicaid funding.

Becker says the assessment pact will forestall in the coming year what he calls “dramatic, devastating cuts” to TennCare, Tennessee’s version of Medicaid.