By Timothy Ghianni
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will call a special session of the state Legislature to consider a plan aimed at providing healthcare coverage to state residents who either do not have insurance or whose options are limited, he said on Monday.
The "Insure Tennessee" plan is seen as an alternative to the Obama administration’s signature Affordable Care Act. That measure, known as Obamacare, has faced strong opposition in several Southern states, which also have large numbers of uninsured residents.
The Tennessee plan "leverages federal dollars to provide health care coverage to more Tennesseans, to give people a choice in their coverage, and to address the cost of health care, better health outcomes and personal responsibility," Haslam's office said.
The Republican governor said his plan had received verbal approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to getting legislative approval, the state must submit a waiver to HHS.
Craig Becker, president and chief executive of the Tennessee Hospital Association, applauded the plan.
"The working uninsured in our state currently find themselves in a coverage gap that results in limited access to healthcare. Insure Tennessee can close this gap and help our neighbors and loved ones find quality coverage and access to care," he said in a statement.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Mark Guarino and Peter Cooney)