House Lawmakers To Gov. Haslam: No Medicaid Expansion Without Our Approval

Gov. Bill Haslam has said for months he's been negotiating with officials in Washington for a way to bring down hundreds of millions of federal dollars to help Tennessee's poor afford healthcare, but so far details have been scant. (Photo: flickr/Gov. Haslam's photostream)

Gov. Bill Haslam has said for months he’s been negotiating with officials in Washington for a way to bring down hundreds of millions of federal dollars to help Tennessee’s poor afford healthcare, but so far details have been scant. (Photo: flickr/Gov. Haslam’s photostream)

Republican Representatives in the state House voted Monday night to require Gov. Bill Haslam to get the legislature’s approval before trying to expand Medicaid in Tennessee.

Haslam has already said if he made such an attempt, he’d ask state lawmakers to sign off.  So the bill legally requiring Haslam to keep his word gave ammunition to Democrats like Craig Fitzhugh, who argued it shows a split between many Republicans and their governor.

“We have tied – You have tied – This general assembly has tied the hands of its governor,” Fitzhugh said before the House vote.  “It sends a message that we don’t trust this governor.”

Some Republicans in the senate had tried this month to back off the measure, but it’s now poised for a vote in that chamber as well.

Still, tweaking what process a Medicaid expansion would have to follow may prove to be a moot point, because Haslam hasn’t unveiled a detailed proposal, and reports this week suggest he’s not about to.

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