(Bloomberg) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s push to expand health care to more than 200,000 low-income residents was defeated as state lawmakers rejected money from the federal government for the plan.
Haslam, a Republican, called the legislature into a special session this week to consider a proposal to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA). The governor’s plan was rejected by a 7-4 committee vote on Wednesday in the Republican-led state Senate.
“I’ve said from the very beginning that it would be difficult to get something that we could get agreed to in Washington and get passed here,” Haslam said after the vote. “What you saw today was a measure of how difficult that is.”
Tennessee is among states where Republicans have reconsidered expanding public health-care programs under President Obama’s law. Wyoming, Idaho and Florida are also considering Medicaid expansions. Indiana announced an expansion last week.
Republican opposition to expanding Medicaid access left many low-income Americans still without coverage even as more than 15 million received benefits under the law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can’t be forced to add enrollees to their Medicaid programs.