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Tennesseans Get Chance to Comment on Health Care

MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WMOT)  --  In spite of his opposition to federal health care reforms, Governor Haslam appears to be moving forward with preparations to implement the Affordable Care Act.

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak says she’s preparing to conduct a series of health care public comment sessions state-wide. McPeak will take input from residents on what essential health benefits should be made mandatory for health policies sold in Tennessee.

Department spokesman Christopher Garrett says residents will be asked to endorse a benefits package (https://news.tn.gov/node/9193), based on federal guidelines, that they’d like to see made Tennessee’s benchmark health care plan.

“We’re gonna ask people to take up to five minutes to offer comments. They also are going to be able to submit written comments through email and through physical mail; what their comments are again about what essential health benefits ought to be included in the plans that are offered.”

Garrett stressed that these meetings are not intended to be a political forum.

“We implement the laws that are passed, federal or state. This really isn’t a political discussion for us. This is really something to focus on what, again, health conditions should be covered under essential health benefit categories.”

Governor Haslam will consider the comments as he decides what benefits must be included in all individual or small-employer group health insurance plans offered in Tennessee beginning January, 2014.

Commissioner McPeak will conduct the Mid-State listening session at 1 p.m. on July 17 at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing.