Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CPI Buzz for 12-9-14

How well run is the state of Tennessee?

Haslam says decision on Medicaid expansion close

TennCare Swells Under First Year Of Health Insurance Mandate

Obama To Visit Nashville For Speech On Immigration

President Obama is scheduled to give a speech in Nashville discussing his recent executive action on immigration.
Obama has said the action that could shield 4 million people from deportation was necessary in light of inaction by Congress. Opponents have called the move unconstitutional and vowed to stop it.
Obama will speak on Tuesday afternoon at a Nashville community center and hub of immigrant-related nonprofit organizations called Casa Azafran.
One of those nonprofits is Conexion Americas, whose executive director, Renata Soto, met with Obama in January to discuss immigration reform. LINK

TennCare Swells Under First Year Of Health Insurance Mandate

The number of Tennesseans on Medicaid has shot up by 120,000 since the beginning of the year, according to newly released data from TennCare. It’s the third largest annual increase in 20 years.
The insurance program for low-income residents has grown despite the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid to include more of the working poor. TennCare director Darin Gordon says these are likely people who were already qualified for coverage and just didn’t know it until the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate took effect.
“If you look at what our normal growth trends and then you look at what we actually experienced, it was significantly more than what we’ve seen,” Gordon said.
TennCare now has slightly more than 1.3 million people covered. LINK

UAW certified with more 45% of VW Tennessee workers

The UAW has been certified as the representative of more than 45% of Volkswagen's workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., a major victory for the union, which has been trying to gain a foothold in the South and in foreign auto plants.

The results of the independent audit of union membership clear the way for the union to meet regularly with management on workplace issues. The UAW said Monday night it was not told the exact percentage by VW but believes the final tally could be more than 50%, which would give the union more leverage.

The UAW has a history of failed elections to unionize Asian- and German-owned assembly plants in the South. The 45% threshold is key and brings the union a step closer to becoming the exclusive bargaining representative for the plant workers. LINK (Subscription)

Haslam says decision on Medicaid expansion close

Gov. Bill Haslam said Friday that he’s talked with nine Republican governors who have expanded Medicaid for low-income people in their states, and he plans to announce what he will do by the end of the month.
Haslam has been heavily criticized for refusing last year to agree to $1.4 billion in federal funds to cover about 180,000 uninsured Tennesseans under the terms the money was offered.
The Republican governor wrapped up budget hearings Friday, and among the last was TennCare, Tennessee’s version of Medicaid. After the TennCare hearing, Haslam told reporters that he talked with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell this week and that he plans to make a decision by Christmas. LINK

How well run is the state of Tennessee?

Here's what they had to say about Tennessee: "Tennessee has exceptionally strong finances by most metrics reviewed. For instance, more than 91 percent of its pension liabilities were funded as of 2013, among the highest percentages in the country. The state also had less than $1,000 in outstanding debt per resident in fiscal 2012, less than any other state."
Those are the positive factors. Yet, according to the finance site, here's what dragged Tennessee down.
"That year [fiscal year 2012], Tennessee had a comparatively small tax revenue relative to other states, likely due, at least in part, to the absence of a state income tax on salaries and wages," 24/7 Wall St. writes. "Also the state's residents are not especially well off. Both per capita GDP and median household income were considerably lower in Tennessee than the nation as a whole in 2013. Individuals were also more likely to live below the poverty line in Tennessee, and households were more likely to rely on food stamps last year."
Here's the breakdown for Tennessee on five metrics used in the 24/7 Wall St. report:
  • Debt per capital: $949 (Fiscal year 2012, lowest in the nation)
  • Credit rating: AA+ with S&P and Aaa with Moody's
  • 2013 Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (10th highest in the nation)
  • 2013 Median household income: $44,297 (9th lowest in the country)
  • 2013 Poverty rate: 17.8% (12th highest nationwide) LINK

Crockett Policy Institute

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