McCormick backs Haslam on Medicaid expansion

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick has become the highest-ranking Republican legislator to declare support for Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s modified Medicaid expansion plan.

From the Tennessean:

“It’s a government program and we’re expanding it. And as Republicans, we don’t like to expand government programs period,” McCormick said Tuesday afternoon.

“But then you go back to the common-sense part of this … really the only practical way to provide these services in another way is to expand the Medicaid program.”

…McCormick said he thinks members of the House want to hear details about the plan before they vote. Asked if the votes are there to pass the plan in the House, McCormick said, “no, not yet.”

Typically the majority leaders in both chambers sponsor or “carry” the governor’s legislation when they are all the same party. McCormick said, “You’d like to have some more motherhood and apple pie and easier legislation to carry” but that traditional role ultimately helped him make up his mind.

“That puts me in a position of really either having a very public break with the governor or carrying the legislation. Sometimes you just man up and carry the legislation, even if you have some disagreements with it,” McCormick said.

Late Tuesday, (Senate Majority Leader Mark) Norris said he is still reviewing the plan.