Tuesday, April 13, 2010
TN House expresses opposition to federal health plan
By Lucas L. Johnson II • ASSOCIATED PRESS • April 13, 2010 Tennessee lawmakers against a resolution that opposes federally mandated health-care initiatives said Monday that it is unnecessary because of the recent passage of President Barack Obama's reform legislation. The resolution proposed by Republican Rep. Susan Lynn of Mt. Juliet was passionately debated for more than an hour before it passed 66-29. The proposal "expresses opposition to ... the creation of a federal health insurance exchange or connector, and the creation of a federal health insurance plan (public plan) option." Several lawmakers questioned the timeliness of the measure after the recent passage of the federal health care bill. "This has already passed ... and we just have to wait and see what happens," said Rep. Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville. But despite those who said the proposal is outdated, Lynn said it is needed "to send a message to the federal government that we can't afford this." "This is protesting them taking away our authority to make these laws, and forcing us to implement what they want us to implement," she said. "It's about ... respecting what we do." Several lawmakers said the proposal could actually reflect badly on the state considering its low ranking in the delivery of health care and because thousands of Tennesseans will be insured as a result of the federal overhaul plan. "If any state needs health care, it's this state ... at the bottom," said Rep. Ulysses Jones, D-Memphis. "By passing this, we're turning our back on the citizens ... who need health care the most." Earlier Monday, the state Senate voted 21-7 to pass a resolution urging the Tennessee attorney general to join states challenging the constitutionality of the federal health-care overhaul. The measure was sponsored by Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville, who is running for governor. Also Monday, the House voted 70-23 for legislation that would prohibit Tennessee tax dollars from being used for abortion services. The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Matthew Hill of Jonesborough, said the federal health-care bill allows states to opt out of abortion funding within new insurance plans that states are required to start. He said his proposal "will make sure that Tennessee tax money does not go to pay for abortions" within those plans.
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