Press Release from the Tennessee Democratic Party, March 13, 2014:
Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron today called Republicans “anti-life and anti-choice” for voting down a proposal by Democratic House Leader Rep. Craig Fitzhugh which would have expanded Medicaid to insure 330,000 Tennesseans.
“Denying health care to working Tennesseans and children is ‘anti-life and anti-choice’. It condemns sick Tennesseans to die and denies them the chance to choose life-saving health care,” said Herron.
House Bill 1723 would expand Medicaid to 330,000 Tennesseans for as long as the federal funding level remains at 100%. House members voting for Rep. Fitzhugh’s bill were Democratic Reps. JoAnne Favors and David Shepard and just a lone Republican, Rep. Kelly Keisling. Voting against were Republican Reps. Steve McManus, Dennis Powers, John Ragan, Jimmy Matlock, and Curtis Johnson.
Herron described the consequences of voting down expansion in terms of lives, dollars, and jobs lost:
“Yesterday Republicans voted to cost Tennesseans taxes, jobs, and even lives. According to a Harvard School of Public Health study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the most prestigious medical journal in the country, over three years 5,000 Tennesseans will die needlessly because of Republican partisanship.
“In addition, a University of Memphis study showed Medicaid expansion would produce 18,000 new jobs. This ought not be a partisan issue. It ought to be about saving hospitals, jobs, and lives.
“Yet some Republicans hate the President more than they love Tennesseans–and others fear the Tea Party more than they ‘love our neighbors as ourselves’. The Republicans voted to send our $1 billion a year in 100% federal funding for Medicaid expansion to New York and California, depriving Tennessee of needed funds with disastrous consequences for local hospitals and our state economy. They have chosen to save themselves from Tea Party criticism by sacrificing the lives of their fellow Tennesseans who will die without the health insurance provided by this bill.
“Deuteronomy 30:19 instructs us this way: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life that you and your children may live.” None of our neighbors and loved ones should have to die because politicians rejected Deuteronomy 30 and the Golden Rule. Republicans denying Tennesseans life-saving health care should never again call themselves ‘pro-life’, not when they condemn 5,000 uninsured Tennesseans to die.
“Every Republican voting against expanding Medicaid and every murderer on Death Row has taxpayer-funded health care. So if the politicians and the prisoners, the lawmakers and the lawbreakers, have government-provided health care, what’s wrong with working women and working men and children having health care?”