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Politics

Tennessee health activists turn up heat on House speaker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Activists who want the state Legislature to expand Medicaid benefits to Tennesseans who lack health coverage are turning up the heat on House Speaker Beth Harwell.

About 20 billboards went live around the state Monday asking Harwell to help pass Insure Tennessee, the governor's Medicaid expansion plan.

Activists had already paid for about three billboards in Nashville but decided to take the campaign statewide because they want Harwell, a Nashville Republican, to bring a full vote to the House floor.

Republican lawmakers have rejected Haslam's Medicaid expansion plan amid fears that it was too closely linked to President Barack Obama's signature health care law. The proposal would cover about 280,000 Tennesseans who currently lack insurance.

Harwell's press secretary did not immediately return a call seeking comment.