NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The 2018 Tennessee General Assembly is underway and political constituencies are gearing up to push their agendas at the State Capital.
WMOT is exploring those agendas by talking with some of the state’s leading political voices.
Craig Becker is President of the Tennessee Hospital Association. He says the Association’s top priority is renewal of the so-called Hospital Coverage Assessment. Under this partnership, hospitals pay some $450 million dollars annually into the state treasury, allowing Tennessee to qualify for more federal healthcare funding.
Even with that agreement, Becker says his hospitals are under pressure. He notes that nine, mostly rural hospitals have closed in the past two years.
Becker says lawmakers need to acknowledge that market forces aren’t fully addressing the states health care problems. He says that’s especially true for the indigent and people on Tennessee’s version of Medicare.
“There is no market for folks who are on TennCare or are no-pay. So it really is up to the hospitals or at least up to the government to make sure that those communities have some kind of a medical presence.”
Becker says the Association also expects to have to beat back attempts to deregulate medical services this session. He says commercial operators want permission to provide communities with only the most lucrative medical services. That would leave less money to support the full range of services hospitals provide.
“Basically what they do is they take only the commercial insurers and not the TennCare and the no-pay, whereas the hospitals have to take all comers.”
Would you like to learn more about the Tennessee Hospital Association