Lawmakers Spar Over Their Own Taxpayer-Provided Health Coverage
Defeat Of Insure Tenn. Leaves Haslam Frustrated, Embarrassed
Shelby mayor: Defeat of Insure TN may mean 10% property tax increase
Corker for president? 11% of Tennesseans think that’s a good idea, 41% don’t
And that was expected by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
But State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R- Collierville) said after Wednesday’s tumultuous events on Capitol Hill that the legislation was also brought down by a lack of critical details, unanswered questions and a rush to a special session with its exact purpose trailing the move to win approval in a week’s time.
“The proposal was premature and it was ill-suited to the process necessary to give it the attention it required,” Norris said. “And it wasn’t sufficiently detailed to answer very important questions. My (Republican) caucus was looking for a reasonable way and process to overcome basic objections to the Affordable Care Act.”
And there was some confusion between Republican leaders in the House and the Senate about which chamber would move first on the proposal.
“The Lt. Governor’s position is the Senate won’t consider anything that hasn’t passed the full House,” Norris said, referring to a possible move to revive the issue in the regular legislative session that resumes next week.
Meanwhile, fellow Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey (R- Germantown), the only Shelby County legislator on the Senate Health Committee and among the majority on the committee who voted against Insure Tennessee, continued to paint his opposition in broad ideological terms. LINK
Shelby mayor: Defeat of Insure TN may mean 10% property tax increaseShelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell warned members of the Kiwanis Club of Memphis on Wednesday that the Tennessee General Assembly’s failure to pass Insure Tennessee could lead to a property tax increase as high as 10 percent, reports the Commercial Appeal.
Without the subsidies hospitals would receive to cover health care costs for the uninsured, county taxpayers will have to make up the difference at the Regional Medical Center, Luttrell said.
…Luttrell said he had told Shelby County’s legislative delegation how significant the bill was to the county’s health and finances.
“If we’re looking at a $70 million hole (in the Regional Medical Center’s budget), which is what it could be, it could be a 10 percent increase in the tax rate,” he said.
The county would look for efficiencies first, Luttrell said.
“I think first of all we’re going to have to let the dust settle for a couple of days to see exactly what the failure means,” he said, speculating that Haslam could have other options to pursue on the health plan. LINK
Defeat Of Insure Tenn. Leaves Haslam Frustrated, EmbarrassedRepublican Gov. Bill Haslam insists he's not giving up on his Insure Tennessee proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income people in the state, though he says he doesn't have any specific plans for resurrecting the measure this year.
Haslam told editors and publishers attending a Tennessee Press Association luncheon in Nashville on Thursday that he was frustrated by the measure's defeat, surprised by lawmakers' level of mistrust of the federal government and embarrassed by the number of times he called U.S. Health and Human Resources Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell to hammer out the failed deal. LINK
Lawmakers Spar Over Their Own Taxpayer-Provided Health CoverageSix of the seven lawmakers who voted to defeat Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee health care proposal are receiving taxpayer-subsidized coverage of their own. That has some of Insure Tennessee’s supporters upset.
Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) said it’s ironic. Many skeptics of Insure Tennessee are willingly accepting state-provided coverage for themselves.
“We need to ensure that everybody in Tennessee has affordable coverage,” Yarbro said, before members of a Select Senate Health and Welfare committee voted 7-4 to reject Insure Tennessee.
Yarbro’s line of argument during the hearing touched a nerve with Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga).
“Senator Yarbro, I’ve heard you kind of twice take a swipe at some of us, and I’m getting a little bit resentful of it,” Gardenhire retorted. He asked for an apology.
A majority of state lawmakers — 88 percent — have accepted publicly subsidized health coverage. Gardenhire is among them, though he says he uses only the private health insurance provided by his employer, Morgan Stanley.
According to the Associated Press, six out of the seven lawmakers voting against Insure Tennessee are on the state government health plan. LINK
Corker for president? 11% of Tennesseans think that’s a good idea, 41% don’tWhile many potential 2016 candidates for president are well known to Tennesseans, some are surprisingly less so, according to the latest statewide MTSU Poll.
“At this point, when potential candidates are still deciding whether to run and there has been little active campaigning or staking out of positions, we decided that name recognition is the best way to assess the candidates’ standing,” said Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University.
“But considering that U.S. Sen. Bob Corker from Tennessee hasn’t ruled out a run for the White House, we did want to ask Tennesseans whether they thought he should go for it.”
Tennesseans seem less than keen on potential presidential aspirations for Corker, though, despite his rising political profile in recent years thanks to bipartisan congressional efforts on fiscal issues and other matters.
Only 11 percent of poll respondents said the Chattanooga Republican should run, while 41 percent said he should not run for president. A 46 percent plurality said they were unsure whether he should run or not, and the rest refused to answer the question. LINK
5 reasons Insure Tennessee deserved more attention this week
Politics trumped policyThis isn’t to say that there wasn’t a sound argument behind the anti-Medicaid expansion effort. Many legislators and organizations (such as the Beacon Center of Tennessee) put in long hours to craft well-articulated, fiscally grounded rebuttals to the proposed legislation. However, at the end of the day, it is impossible to downplay the negative effect the word "Obamacare" had on the fate of Insure Tennessee. Freshman Sen. Ed Jackson (R-Jackson) summed it up well with, "If this bill was called Bubbacare instead of being compared to Obamacare ... there wouldn’t be any trouble getting it passed." Read between the lines: Vote for Insure Tennessee now, and you’ll be giving future primary challengers a great weapon against you. "He voted for Obamacare!"
Tennessee as a national influencerOur state has gotten a lot of national attention lately, whether it’s been related to the Volkswagen/United Auto Workers saga or Tennessee Promise. The same has been the case for Insure Tennessee. Currently, there are two other states considering Medicaid expansion, and more could follow. You can bet that there were plenty of eyes in multiple state capitols keeping tabs on this week’s deliberations in Nashville—especially in Republican-controlled state governments. The failed passage of Insure Tennessee wasn’t a learning experience just for Haslam. It was a learning experience for many other policymakers across America. LINK
Crockett Policy Institute