- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Any expansion of the government-funded Medicaid system in Georgia would have to get the OK of state legislators, under a bill approved Tuesday.

The state Senate voted 35-19 to approve a bill that would restrict the executive branch from loosening the income eligibility rules so more low-income people could join the health insurance system unless the General Assembly first approves the change.

The Legislature is dominated by Republicans, making it unlikely they will buy into a signature policy from Democratic President Barack Obama. The Obama administration intended for states to let people into the Medicaid program if those people were too poor to afford subsidized health insurance plans.

The bill now heads to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who previously said he supports it.