- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Gov. Haslam reaches Medicaid deal in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday that he has reached a deal to expand Medicaid in Tennessee after more than a year of discussions with federal officials.

The Republican’s administration touted the plan as an alternative deal with federal officials. The two-year pilot program, dubbed Insure Tennessee, would provide coverage for the state’s uninsured without creating new taxes for Tennesseans.

“Our approach is responsible and reasonable, and I truly believe that it can be a catalyst to fundamentally changing health care in Tennessee,” Haslam said.

The program offers several options of coverage for individuals below 138 percent of the federal poverty level - which works out to $16,100 for an individual and $27,300 for a family of three. Tennesseans between the ages of 21 and 64 will be offered a choice of the so-called Healthy Incentives Plan or the Volunteer Plan.

The Volunteer Plan would provide a health insurance voucher to participants to use in their employer’s health insurance plan for premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Those who select the other plan may choose coverage through a redesigned component of TennCare, the state’s version of Medicaid. It would introduce Healthy Incentives for Tennesseans accounts, modeled after Health Reimbursement Accounts, which can be used to pay for a portion of required member cost-sharing.


Response to Gov. Haslam’s proposed Medicaid deal

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.


“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.



Police kill 16-year-old suspect who shot officer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A 16-year-old robbery suspect was shot and killed by police in Nashville when he opened fire on officers who tried to use a stun gun to subdue him, authorities said.

Xavier McDonald had recently been released from the Woodland Hills Youth Detention Center and before the shooting he had told an officer at the scene that he didn’t want to go back, police spokesman Don Aaron told a news conference Monday.

The Woodland Hills facility in Nashville experienced two mass breakouts earlier this year and has a long history of violence, allegations of sexual abuse and previous efforts to break out.

One officer was seriously wounded in Sunday evening’s shooting, which began with a report of a robbery in south Nashville.

Sgt. Michelle Jones knew some of the people in a nearby apartment where police believed the robbers had fled, Aaron said. The officers were given permission to enter and found the victim’s debit card inside.

McDonald had locked himself in a bathroom. Jones spoke to him and at one point he came out. Jones thought he was going to surrender, Aaron said. But when Jones went to pat him down, she felt the gun. An officer tried to stun McDonald, but for unknown reasons, it didn’t work. That’s when police say McDonald opened fire, hitting officer John Downs, 42, in the leg.


Man injured in Memphis gas line explosion dies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A Memphis utility employee who was injured in a gas line explosion last month has died.

Memphis Light Gas and Water reported on its website that 35-year-old Jason Webb died Sunday at Regional One Medical Center.

Five workers were hurt in the explosion and fire on Nov. 25 when they were working to fix a gas leak in a residential area. The Commercial Appeal said the other four employees had been released from the hospital.

The newspaper said officials with the utility haven’t finished their investigation into the cause of the incident.

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