Gov. Bill Haslam has vetoed a bill related to an alternative cancer treatment.
The bill, which was approved in the House with an 82-13 vote and a 29-1 vote in the Senate, would have required insurance coverage of proton therapy.
Proton therapy is a form of targeted radiation that is not covered by insurers in Tennessee. It is used for cancers of the brain, lung, breast and neck.
The legislation would have benefited a Franklin-based company that performs the therapy.
Jennifer Donnals, a spokeswoman for the governor, confirmed the veto to the USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee.
In a statement, Haslam said the legislation "circumvents" an established process for determining employee insurance coverage.
“The state plan currently covers many forms of radiation treatment, and the provider advocating this bill rejected a medically appropriate plan for expanded coverage to instead pursue a political mandate," he said.
"The state is committed to high-quality care that is medically appropriate and fiscally responsible for patients and taxpayers, but this mandate could put patients at risk and expose them to excessive charges from out-of-network providers.”
Haslam's veto of the bill, which came Thursday, is just his fifth since he entered office in 2010.
His last veto came in 2016, when the legislature approved a measure to make the Bible the official book of Tennessee. The House failed to override Haslam's veto.
To overrule Haslam's action, the legislature would need to reconvene and a simple majority would need to vote in favor of overriding the veto.
The governor's veto of the proton therapy bill opens the door to him vetoing other bills and to the legislature potentially holding an override session.
Reach Joel Ebert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-772-1681 and on Twitter @joelebert29.