Former Gov. Phil Bredesen is urging his successor to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. To Bredesen the "mother of all unfunded mandates" now has become "free money" from the federal government. Bredesen gave lip service to Gov. Bill Haslam's so-called third way — a plan to force the new Medicaid population to accept lesser benefits and higher co-pays. But Bredesen said the governor should expand Medicaid even without making a deal.
"I respect his decision, I wouldn't second guess what he's doing but in the end, I hope he and the legislature, if they can't work out this third way with the federal government, would come back and maybe add people into the Medicaid roles. It's just a lot of free money for the state," Bredesen said.
It's no surprise Washington has found little to like in Haslam's plan, as Andy Sher reports, and we all know the governor won't take Bredesen's advice. Haslam never wanted to expand Medicaid. By pretending to think about it for so long, he was looking to have it both ways, appearing like a serious person while ultimately acquiescing to the demands of the Republican supermajority.