FENTRESS COUNTY – A local hospital official is urging community leaders in Fentress County to step up and voice support for Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee plan, the new health proposal that could expand health care coverage to more than 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans.
Jamestown Regional Medical Center CEO/CFO Lynette Pritchett issued a memorandum late last week asking community leaders to reach out to their respective state representatives – via phone and/or email – to voice support for Insure Tennessee. She writes that “approval of this plan to make health care coverage accessible to our state’s most vulnerable citizens is important to our hospital and to the network of 19 (Community Health Systems-affiliated) hospitals across Tennessee.”
The memorandum also gives sample talking points for supporters. Among those highlights: the plan is a market-based solution that won’t cost the state any additional funding; it will create 15,000 jobs in Tennessee, as well as ensure the security of the 169 employees of Jamestown Regional Medical Center; and it’s also important to hospitals and other health care providers who have absorbed significant Medicare cuts over the last few years. Opponents have spoken to their own concerns about the plan leading to more federal borrowing and questioning how it will operate, its benchmarks as well as likely loopholes. Nearly two-thirds of Tennessee members of the National Federation of Independent Business, according to a release issued by the small business group last week, oppose Haslam’s proposal.
The state Legislature will meet in special session to vote on Insure Tennessee on Feb. 2.
Haslam will be in the Upper Cumberland this week to discuss the plan, part of a statewide tour.