In what isn't really a shock, Gov. Bill Haslam today turned down the federal Medicaid expansion offered as part of the Affordable Care Act, despite hospitals and even the CHAMBER OF COMMERCE begging him not to do so. As has been consistent throughout his tenure in charge of the state, Haslam once again refused to show the slightest sign of a backbone when it comes to the crazies in the state legislature. Really, at this point, would it be that much different if Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey had actually won the election?
In fact, Democrats are saying Ramsey made Haslam's non-decision for the governor over dinner last week. The Senate speaker told reporters about the dinner at his weekly avail the next day, and it did seem as if he was letting us know that he was advising Haslam to punt.
“It isn’t as simple as just saying no or just saying yes," Ramsey said then. "There’s a lot of options that are out there that haven’t been explored yet. This may not happen this year. I’m not making a prediction. But there’s no gun to our head. Matter of fact, the Supreme Court says we don’t have to do it. Is there maybe some justification for holding off until next year and seeing how this is working out in other states? Possibly. I’m not saying that’s a solution, but it’s possible.”
We pointed out Haslam had said repeatedly he would make a recommendation this session, and Ramsey said, "A recommendation means that we may wait until next year. That could be the recommendation." As we laughed he added, "Seriously. That’s a recommendation. It is."