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AARP AARP States Advocacy

REPORT: Medicaid Expansion Good for Health of Tennessee Citizens, Economy

Tennessee State Capitol
Photo courtesy of Joseph A via Flickr.

Medicaid Expansion would be good for the health of Tennessee's citizens, communities and economy, according to  The Economics of Medicaid Expansion.

The report was commissioned by AARP Tennessee on behalf of " A Healthy TN," a coalition of Tennessee organizations advocating for Medicaid coverage of hard-working families in our state who cannot afford or access private insurance.

Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to announce soon whether he believes Tennessee should expand Medicaid to cover Tennessee families between 100 percent and 138 percent of poverty. That would give a working family of four - making under $32,000 access to health care.

Right now, these folks only get care when they have to – crowding our emergency rooms and raising the cost of care for those with insurance. Expanding Medicaid will mean healthier workers, healthier children and healthier families. That will have a huge impact on our state – because a healthy worker is key to a productive workforce and a growing economy.

Expanding Medicaid will help workers who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own – and no longer have health insurance. Many of these folks are between the ages of 50 and 64  - and have a very hard time getting a new job. These people are the backbone of our state.

Expanding Medicaid also will help more older Tennesseans get the care they need. They won’t be forced into nursing homes, which costs much more than home care. And, if we expand Medicaid, there will be tough new penalties and fines to combat waste and fraud - so that the people who need and deserve coverage will get it.

If we don’t expand Medicaid, Tennessee taxpayers lose. Our money will go to other states that are expanding their programs. If we don’t expand Medicaid, sick and injured Tennesseans lose. Many of our hospitals will have to cut staff and services, or close altogether. That means we will have to drive further and wait longer to get help. (The Affordable Care Act cuts the amount of money that hospitals get from the federal government to cover uncompensated care, on the premise that states will expand Medicaid and receive payment from those newly insured people).

Read this AP story or watch this video to see what it would mean for YOU!

In a nutshell, nearly 1 million Tennesseans would have access to health care, hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues would flow to local and state coffers and 22,000 jobs would be created, according to the researchers.

The federal government would cover the entire cost for the first three years. The state would begin to pitch in over the next few years, but never more than 10 percent of the cost.

According to the report, The Economics of Medicaid Expansion, for every $1 from the state, the federal government would pay nearly $30.

If Tennessee rejects Medicaid expansion, our taxpayer money will go to other states and thousands of Tennesseans will continue to suffer poor health and die needlessly. Every 100 minutes, someone dies for lack of health insurance, the researchers say.

A recent survey by the Tennessee Hospital Association found that most Tennesseans support Medicaid expansion, but our leaders need to hear that from us.

So please, make your voice heard! Call the governor at 615.741.2001 or email him at

If the governor decides that Medicaid Expansion is the right move for Tennessee, the Legislature must approve it. So contact your state senator and representative and urge them to stop playing politics with the health and future of our families. 

Doctor greating patient
Zsolt Nyulaszi

For more about the coalition for "A Healthy TN, visit the website:

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