Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam wants to extend CHIP! Which stands for Children’s Health Insurance Program! Which insures low-income kids, on the theory that even poor kids should be able to see a doctor when they are sick! Wait, what? We thought Tennessee was against Insuring the Poor. Haslam declined Medicaid expansion for Tennessee in 2012, saying crazy things such as:


“The Obama administration has set an aggressive timeline to implement exchanges, while there is still a lot of uncertainty about how the process will actually work. What has concerned me more and more is that they seem to be making this up as they go.

He added, “I'm not a fan of the law." Lolz, you don't say! However, Haslam more recently made headlines by announcing a new plan called Insure Tennessee, which is more or less Obamacare, but refuses to be called that.

And now Haslam is asking for this extension of his state’s CHIP program, which covers 88,000 Tennessee children. This is positively a new trend for Mr. Haslam! Insurance for everyone, wheeeee! So what does he have to say about it?

“Tennessee is looking for opportunities to streamline and simplify eligibility,” Haslam wrote to the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress with jurisdiction over the program.

Haslam said children now covered by the CHIP program in Tennessee “will have access to alternative coverage options that offer comparable services in the future.” But until then, he asks Congress to keep CHIP going through fiscal year 2017.

Gov. Haslam is indeed making multiple moves to expand healthcare coverage! What on earth is bringing all this on?!

The CHIP program was created by Congress in 1997 to cover children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford insurance plans on the private market. Nationally, the program is credited with decreasing uninsured rates among those under the age of 19.

Oh, you mean CHIP has been rather successful? Could it be that Republican governors are recognizing that their peeps are fans of having healthcare, no matter what you call it as long as what you call it is not Obamacare? Perhaps Mr. Haslam is taking a page from his Kentucky neighbor, Senator Mitch McConnell's book.

McConnell...spent most of his re-election campaign insisting that he could use Republican magic to repeal Obamacare while still allowing his constituents in Kentucky to keep all the benefits of Obamacare because they love it so much.

Bill Haslam seems to be on board with expanding Medicaid, extending CHIP, what have you, all whilst eschewing the dreaded "O" word! However you have to wrangle it, buddy! We'll take not dying in the streets of an infected hangnail however we can get it.

[USA Today / Tennessean / HuffPo]

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