Chamber backs Medicaid expansion

9:15 am | February 25, 2013

The Elizabethton-Carter County Chamber of Commerce board offered its support to local medical institutions by approving a motion asking the state to approve the expansion of Medicaid in Tennessee.

Sycamore Shoals Hospital CEO Dwayne Taylor talked with the board recently about the hospital’s concerns over the financial impact Sycamore Shoals would face if the state did not pass the Medicaid expansion plan.

Taylor said the hospital could lose $2.7 million in Medicaid reimbursements over the next 10 years if the expansion was not approved.

“There will be financial pain coming to hospitals,” Taylor said. “Smaller hospitals will be more vulnerable to this. Hospitals will close across the state, especially smaller, independent hospitals, or services will be cut.”

Taylor said Tennessee hospitals would see a reduction of revenue of $5.6 billion over the next decade due to cuts to Medicaid reimbursement in the Affordable Care Act, along with other federal legislation.

The funding reductions were to be partially offset by reducing the number of uninsured patients by expanding Medicaid and introducing health care changes.

However, the Supreme Court struck down the ACA mandate requiring states to participate in the Medicaid expansion, leaving each state to decide if it will opt in or out of the expansion. Taylor said Gov. Bill Haslam has not said whether Tennessee will participate or not in the expansion. He said hospitals were being giving the opportunity to seek out support for the expansion from their communities.

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