Disagreement appears to have developed between the Republican-dominated chambers of the General Assembly over how to handle Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” proposal scheduled for discussion in a special session beginning Feb. 2.
On Thursday, leaders of the Tennessee Senate’s GOP supermajority indicated the upper chamber will be holding off on committee votes on the issue until the House approves a resolution authorizing Tennessee to sign up for the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion funding.
But that doesn’t seem to sit well with some Republicans in the House.
“Apparently, there was a Senate Republican Caucus meeting yesterday where it was fantasized to the effect that we would go through this process on Insure Tennessee through several committees before they even considered it in the Senate, and I would like to dispel that silly notion that they had in that Senate Republican Caucus meeting,” Majority Leader Gerald McCormick said Friday morning on the House floor.
“That will not happen,” said the Republican from Chattanooga, who is expected to attempt to guide the governor’s Insure Tennessee plan to approval in the House.
Haslam’s Medicaid expansion plan — the centerpiece of which is a system of Affordable Care Act-financed vouchers to allow the purchase of private-sector health insurance by lower income Tennesseans — has been met with skepticism by many members of the Republican Legislature, even as GOP leaders have pledged to keep an open mind about the expansion.
According to an emailed statement Friday from the office of Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, the lower-chamber leadership was under the impression “that the House and Senate would each run the resolutions concurrently. “