- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

Reaction to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee:

“When a state has an opportunity to take power away from the federal government and institute real conservative reform, that is an opportunity that must be taken seriously. Governor Haslam has negotiated a deal which returns tax dollars back to Tennessee while using conservative principles to bring health insurance to more Tennesseans.” - Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville.

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“The governor has proposed what appears to be a state-based, free market reform. My priorities will be ensuring the fiscal stability of the state, and protecting the taxpayers. I look forward to what I’m sure will be a thorough discussion with my colleagues in the Tennessee General Assembly.” - House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville.

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“Governor Haslam deserves credit for insisting upon a Tennessee plan that the state can afford, and Secretary Burwell deserves credit for being flexible enough to allow the governor to achieve that.” - U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

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“I’m glad the administration has finally allowed appropriate flexibility, and I’m pleased our state was able to adopt a solution that will build off of the innovative ways we deliver quality health care.” - U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

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“We fully support its intention to keep Tennesseans’ federal tax dollars in the state, cover working families and give them financial peace of mind, and support Tennessee’s health care system on which we all depend. Helping Tennessee families and supporting our health care system is something we all need to get behind.” - Michele Johnson, executive director of Tennessee Justice Center.

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“Good things happen at Christmas time, and I think this is really good news. Now, we start having good conversations with the Legislature to try to get it done.” - House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley.

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“For the past two years, (the Tennessee Hospital Association’s) number one priority has been securing Medicaid expansion in our state and today marks the beginning of this goal becoming a reality.” - Craig Becker, president of the Tennessee Hospital Association.

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“Gov. Haslam’s announcement is a step in the right direction. Expanding health insurance to more Tennesseans is the right thing to do for patients, hospitals and businesses.” - U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.

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“The governor’s plan is too little, too late. Years of Republican delay have cost Tennesseans at least $870 million, thousands of jobs, and has even cost thousands of Tennesseans their very lives. But now that the governor has received major concessions, legislators should end the stalling and suffering, delay and death.” - State Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron.

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“Medicaid expansion is both unaffordable and immoral. We will actively work with our state lawmakers to soundly reject this proposal and instead pursue meaningful alternatives that put the quality of life for Tennesseans first.” - Justin Owen, president and CEO of the Beacon Center, a conservative think tank.

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“We’re disappointed Governor Haslam has decided to try implementing more of ObamaCare in Tennessee, even as many of his colleagues in other states have held the line and protected their constituents from this disastrous law.” - Andrew Ogles, state director for Americans for Prosperity.

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“I am reading through the governor’s proposal now. But I will say I am extremely apprehensive of any plan that relies on federal taxpayer dollars derived from ObamaCare.” - U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.

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