White House plans health care blitz in Tennessee

Friday, January 3, 2014, Vol. 38, No. 1

CHATTANOOGA (AP) – Tennessee residents can expect to hear a lot more about the federal health care law from the White House in the coming weeks.

The Obama administration is planning a blitz of positive information about the Affordable Care Act and the law’s various impacts in the state.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported (http://bit.ly/K08y6x) that the move comes as the president tries to drive up enrollment in the online health insurance changes, which kick in Jan. 1.

The move also seeks to counter attacks by Republican opponents of the law and rising public doubts about the troubled roll-out of the exchanges included in the process.

The Obama administration is pressing various statistics, including 1.4 million people on private insurance having gained coverage for at least one free preventive health care service such as a mammogram, birth control, or an immunization in 2011 and 2012.

Among the other statistics cited by the White House are the hope that an estimated 889,000 uninsured Tennesseans will have new health insurance options through Medicaid or private health plans in the marketplace and that 59,000 young adults have gained health insurance because they can now stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26.

It was unclear whether the White House’s statement factored in Gov. Bill Haslam and fellow Republicans’ in the Tennessee Legislature’s turning down the Medicaid expansion, which the state has estimated could impact 180,000 residents.

Also, Tennessee’s state-based health centers have received $108,059,000 to provide primary care, establish new sites and renovate existing centers to expand access to quality health care.

The State of Tennessee has approximately 190 health center sites, which served about 384,000 individuals in 2012.