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Bo Watson

NASHVILLE -- Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, says he voted against Insure Tennessee on Tuesday because "spending even more money to grow our Medicaid rolls may be good politics, but is not policy that taxpayers expect."

 Watson was among seven GOP lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee who voted against efforts to revive Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to use federal Medicaid dollars to extend health insurance coverage to an estimated 280,000 low-income Tennesseans.

It failed on a 7-2 vote with a ninth member abstaining.

As a member of the Senate Health Committee, Watson also voted against the resolution last week, but the resolution authorizing Haslam to proceed with the plan utilizing federal funds made available under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act nonetheless passed its first hurdle.

"Politics promises an immediate solution that many times carries unintended consequences," Watson said in a statement released Wednesday. "Effective policy considers the short and long-term impact especially when spending taxpayer money."

Watson, the Senate speaker pro tempore, said he still recalls "the harm to our state's budget that occurred with the excessive growth of TennCare a few short years ago."

That resulted in an estimated 172,000 Tennesseans getting disenrolled by then-Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen.

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