Lawmakers Might Have To Be On Own Dime For A Medicaid Expansion Vote

Senator JIm Kyle led the push for "no pay," if a special session is needed to okay a Medicaid expansion deal. Credit Blake Farmer/WPLN

Senator JIm Kyle led the push for “no pay,” if a special session is needed to okay a Medicaid expansion deal. Credit Blake Farmer/WPLN

Republican lawmakers are poised to make the governor get their approval for any deal to expand Medicaid in the state as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. Thursday, Senate Democrats managed to tack on an amendment — if such a vote requires a special session, lawmakers won’t get paid for their time.

Democrats made several arguments, saying the requirement shows Republican lawmakers don’t trust their own governor, who’s already said he’d seek their approval. Most of the amendments were swatted aside, like ones to expand TennCare to uninsured veterans and intellectually disabled people.

Democratic Senator Jim Kyle brought the one amendment that stuck, in case the governor does come up with a Medicaid deal and has to get lawmakers to sign off.

“Simply says if we have to go into special session to accept these funds, we don’t get paid for coming down here to do it. That’s simply what it says. We’ll come down here on our expense, our own nickel, because we decide to do this today.”

The amended bill now heads back to the House, which already passed its version of the measure last week.

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