The state House of Representatives approved a bill Monday night requiring Gov. Bill Haslam to win legislative approval before expanding Medicaid to more working poor, as provided under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Further from The Commercial Appeal:
Democrats charged that the bill (HB937), pushed by majority Republicans, sends a message that the General Assembly “doesn’t trust” the Republican governor, who is negotiation with the Obama administration over a Haslam proposal to let Tennessee use billions of dollars in federal Medicaid money to buy health coverage for those eligible through the private insurance markets rather than directly through Medicaid.
But under questioning, the House sponsor, Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, acknowledged that the bill is a compromise with the Haslam administration because his original bill would have banned outright any Medicaid expansion in Tennessee
“This is the language that we agreed on — that they would stop opposing this legislation. The governor has already said he would ask the legislature for approval,” Durham said.
The bill, which won a party line 69-24 vote, now goes to the Senate where it’s awaiting a floor vote there.
Republicans defeated a series of amendments from Democrats, including one by House Democratic Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley that would expand Medicaid but only through 2016 while the federal government is paying 100 percent of the costs of expansion.
Also, here are a couple of quotes from an AP story:
“The last thing we want to do is automatically approve something the federal government does,” said Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, the bill’s main House sponsor.
House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh criticized the measure as counterproductive.
“This General Assembly has tied the hands of its governor,” said Fitzhugh, D-Ripley. “It sends a message that we don’t trust this governor, and don’t trust him to negotiate in good faith a deal … that is in the best interest of Tennessee.”