Republican Governor Bill Haslam Embraces Obamacare, Sort Of

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

While the long fight by Republicans to defund and repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) goes on, at least one Republican governor has decided to embrace it.

No, there wasn’t a sudden flash of reason, it’s just that it seems people (including many Republicans) like the Affordable Care Act, just as long as you don’t call it “Obamacare.” Back in 2013, it was found that the Affordable Care Act was more popular than Obamacare, even though it is the exact same thing. I guess that goes to show just how much time and effort Republicans put into demonizing a law that was intended to help more Americans get access to health insurance, something that the health insurance industry actually benefited from.


So perhaps that’s what Governor Bill Haslam (R-TN) is counting on with his plans to create an alternative to the Affordable Care Act in a special session of the state legislature.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will call a special session of the state Legislature to consider a plan aimed at providing healthcare coverage to state residents who either do not have insurance or whose options are limited, he said on Monday.

The “Insure Tennessee” plan is seen as an alternative to the Obama administration’s signature Affordable Care Act. That measure, known as Obamacare, has faced strong opposition in several Southern states, which also have large numbers of uninsured residents.

The Tennessee plan “leverages federal dollars to provide health care coverage to more Tennesseans, to give people a choice in their coverage, and to address the cost of health care, better health outcomes and personal responsibility,” Haslam’s office said.

The Republican governor said his plan had received verbal approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to getting legislative approval, the state must submit a waiver to HHS. (Source)

In reality, the Affordable Care Act should actually be popular with Republicans as it makes people take “personal responsibility” by signing up for and buying health insurance, something I actually agree with. While many people believe we should have a single-payer system (my very conservative mother included), I’m cool with our current system where people are required to purchase coverage and low-income individuals should qualify for Medicaid expansion. With the Affordable Care Act, Republicans and their friends in the health insurance industry got most of what they wanted; they’re just really, really upset that it’s been nicknamed “Obamacare,” especially since it’s proving to be successful. Just look at Kentucky for example:

About half a million Kentuckians signed up for health insurance, many receiving it for the first time. Fewer than 100,000 joined private insurance plans; that means the bulk of the population joined Medicaid, which was greatly expanded under the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. But at the same time, Obama is deeply unpopular in Kentucky and polls indicate that many Kentuckians do not associate Kynect with Obamacare. (Source)



In his re-election bid, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) campaigned against Obamacare while at the same time trying to pretend that the state’s wildly popular insurance program Kynect wasn’t part of the Affordable Care Act that he’s repeatedly tried to repeal. Now Gov. Bill Haslam will use “Insure Tennessee” to expand health insurance coverage to his constituents, and when it becomes popular in Tennessee like Kynect has become in Kentucky, he will almost undoubtedly point to its success if and when he decides to seek higher office. Bill Haslam has been mentioned as a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate and is popular with voters from both parties in Tennessee. Many Republicans who aren’t thrilled with the idea of Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush leading the field of possible contenders would likely find Bill Haslam a welcome alternative, even though he would certainly draw the ire of the Tea Party.

I suppose we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and it’s a good thing that Tennessee residents may receive healthcare access that they didn’t have before – just so long as nobody refers to it as “Obamacare,” they’ll be happy with it.



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  • Rob Banks

    Medicaid expansion saves states so much money they cannot resist. This is the genius of “Obamacare”.
    Bwahahahahaha!

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      • gil reyes

        why are these SCAMS popping up so much now???????????????

    • PitoDaddy

      I feel that It is really tragic how so many people have been brainwashed to reject something they associate with our black president that has been put in place to help save their lives and that of their families, as well as help them save some money. They have been programmed to loath anything associated our president, even if they benefit from it. I remember hearing an interview done with a woman in Kentucky leading up to the recent midterms regarding her newfound healthcare, thanks to the ACA. She said that she was happy that she now has healthcare and that she really likes it. When the interviewer asked her whether she would still vote for Mitch McConnell to remain in the Senate while knowing that he said that he would continue to try to repeal the healthcare law that is enabling her to have the healthcare she enjoys. Her response was something to the effect of, “Well, I’ve voted Republican all my life and I’m not going to change now.” This woman’s example is just the tip of the iceberg. There is no critical-thinking going on with this type of voter, nor do they seem to have any sense of self-preservation. It just goes to show how deep the dagger of racial hatred and stupidity can pierce through one’s soul. They would rather continue to vote for the GOP to further impoverish them than to vote for the Dems to help improve their quality of life. It’s a form of suicide kinda like a divorcing couple that hates one another and are fighting over the custody of the kids. One of the parents then kidnaps the kids, kills them, and then kills him/herself, all out hatred for the other parent. It’s insanity.

  • wendy

    I find it saddening that we live in a country where a simple synonym and semantics is all it takes to trick so many people. We REALLY need to improve education in this country :/

  • Macdoodle

    We will see how much these people love Obamcare when all the mandates kick in in January.We are all going to feel the pain.

    • strayaway

      Some of the rate hikes won’t happen until January 2017 after the election because the (un)ACA contains programs that expire by then. Insurance companies will no longer be subsidized with so much tax money that have allowed (un)ACA policies to be sold for artificially low premiums. Of course, the Republican Congress could choose to run the Country into perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars of additional debt to extend these corporate subsidies. We know that won’t happen though because the president promised that the (un)ACA wasn’t going to add to the national debt and those of us with traditional employer plans would expect to have our premiums go down $2,500/year.

  • Melanie Collins Pennock

    My husband was able to get Healthcare for the first time at a reasonable rate since his quintuple by-pass in 1998! Thank you Obamacare! My state, California, is one of the first to embrace the entire thing.

  • Guest

    It is really tragic how so many people have been brainwashed to reject something they associate with our black president that has been put in place to help save their lives and that of their families, as well as help them save some money. They have been programmed to loath anything associated our president, even if they benefit from it. I remember hearing an interview done with a woman in Kentucky leading up to the recent midterms regarding her newfound healthcare, thanks to the ACA. She said that she was happy that she now has healthcare and that she really likes it. When the interviewer asked her whether she would still vote for Mitch McConnell to remain in the Senate while knowing that he said that he would continue to try to repeal the healthcare law that is enabling her to have the healthcare she enjoys. Her response was something to the effect of, “Well, I’ve voted Republican all my life and I’m not going to change now.” This woman’s example is just the tip of the iceberg. There is no critical-thinking going on with this type of voter, nor do they seem to have any sense of self-preservation. It just goes to show how deep the dagger of racial hatred and stupidity can pierce through one’s soul. They would rather continue to vote for the GOP to further impoverish them than to vote for the Dems to help improve their quality of life. It’s a form of suicide kinda like a divorcing couple that hates one another and are fighting over the custody of the kids. One of the parents then kidnaps the kids, kills them, and then kills him/herself, all out hatred for the other parent. It’s insanity.