Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday that Tennessee will not create a state-run health insurance exchange, but the Republican governor said he remains undecided about whether to expand Medicaid.
Haslam said in a speech to the Nashville Rotary Club that he was unsettled by the lack of guidelines from the federal government about the insurance marketplaces that are required under President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul.
"This is a massive federal program to be implemented across millions of individuals, and the amount of information and data that we have about it — or the lack of that — is scary, quite frankly," he said.
Exchanges are new online markets where consumers will be able to buy individual private policies and apply for government subsidies to help pay their premiums. About 30 million people around the country expected to gain coverage under the law will get policies in the new exchanges, and the other half will be covered under Medicaid. About 982,000 people are uninsured in Tennessee.
"To me this is a business decision," Haslam said. "If you take the politics out of the decision, what you're left with is this: As the CEO of the state of Tennessee I'm being asked to make a significant business decision based on information that's only now dribbling out of Washington and that we appear to have little influence over."