Two hearings took place today in Nashville regarding the Medicaid Expansion. Those bills include Senate Bill 804 sponsored by Senator Kelsey and House Bill 937 sponsored by Representative Durham. Earlier this morning Governor Haslam had stated that he would not expand Medicaid this year.
During the hearings, the amendment was being distributed. It had been formulated this afternoon after the Governors speech. This amendment rewrites the bill by stating that if the Governor decides that he (or future Governor) would like to expand the Medicaid provision of the Affordable Care Act, he will need the legislatures approval first.
House Bill 937, by Representative Durham, was heard in the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee. The chairman received the amendment and was asking if this was his plan for the affordable care act since they didn’t have the amendment this morning?
Representative Durham, didn’t have the answer. He knew that Governor Haslam “didn’t want to proceed at this time. When you get into budget amendments, an issue that is such importance, the entire legislature should get to hear that. When you are talking about a 33 billion dollar state budget, I just feel if it is of such importance like Medicaid expansion then we should be hearing just that. So the bill wouldn’t make expansion legal. But if we are going to do it we will do it by a joint resolution. I want everyone to be heard on that”
The chairman was confused by the amendment since the amendment deletes the bill and replaces it with how Representative Durham stated. He wanted the attorney to explain it for the record.
The Attorney stated (she had no prior notice of this amendment), “From looking upon it, it looks as though this with drafting code 5824 saying the Governor would not allow him to make any decision or obligate Tennessee with regards to the expansion of Medicaid Program without approval by a joint resolution from the general assembly. This is how I’m reading it. This (the amendment) would make up the new bill since it is deleting everything after the caption.”Details