We Don't Need Your Stinkin' Money

Republican legislators that have an antipathy toward Obamacare are scaring state hospitals to death. The proposed refusal to expand Medicaid will cost state hospitals millions of dollars, bankrupt rural hospitals, and divert the federal funds to states with Democratic majorities.

Hospital administrators have been meeting with editorial boards and talking to local legislative delegations to try and explain what an asinine position it is to turn down expanded Medicaid coverage paid 100 percent by the federal government. It means hundreds of millions of dollars to pay hospital bills for people who do not currently have insurance coverage, creates thousands of jobs in the health-care industry, and gives the working poor financial stability.

The argument the hospitals are making is that the state can sunset the expansion after three years if continuing the program is too costly, but take the money in the meantime. One administrator observed that under the Republican legislators' rationale, they would turn down 100 percent funding for a new interstate highway because at some point the state might have to re-pave it.

Gov. Bill Haslam has yet to take public position on whether to take the money or not and a bill to reject the funding remains in limbo in the state Senate.