House approves $450M hospital fee to draw down federal money

Friday, April 10, 2015, Vol. 39, No. 15

NASHVILLE (AP) — The state House has voted 90-2 to approve an annual $450 million assessment on Tennessee hospitals to draw down $826 million in federal money.

Democrats were quick to point out that the about 2-to-1 match rate pales in comparison to vastly more favorable rate the state would have received if lawmakers approved Gov. Bill Haslam's Insure Tennessee proposal.

Under Haslam's plan, hospitals would have covered the $74 million state share to draw down $2.8 billion in federal Medicaid funds to cover more than 280,000 low-income Tennesseans.

But two efforts to pass Haslam's proposal were killed by lawmakers wary of tapping into the Medicaid expansion element of President Barack Obama's health care law.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 9-0 on Monday to send the hospital fee to a full floor vote.