Haslam insists Medicaid pursuit no 'fool's errand'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam says his pursuit of a special deal on Medicaid expansion in Tennessee is no "fool's errand," and that a deal could still be struck at any time.

The Republican governor told a business group in Nashville on Tuesday that he remains in negotiations with the federal government over his proposal to use $1.4 billion in Medicaid money available under the federal health care overhaul to pay for private coverage for uninsured Tennesseans.

The governor told reporters after the event that he spoke with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the weekend. Haslam suggested that an arrangement could be struck anywhere from now to next year.

The failure to reach a deal earlier caused Haslam to exclude the Medicaid expansion money from his budget proposal.

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