Proton therapy is an alternative cancer treatment that is not covered by insurers in the state. The targeted radiation is used for various forms of brain, lung, breast and neck cancer.
The bill passed the House on an 82-13 vote and passed the Senate on a 29-1 vote.
The veto is Haslam’s fifth since entering office in 2010, and his first since 2016 when he vetoed a bill that would have made the Bible the official state book.
“Today, I vetoed Senate Bill 367, a bill that circumvents the established process for determining state employee insurance program coverage based on medical evidence and effectiveness,” Haslam said in a statement. “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. 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.”