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Alexander, Black Release Statements on 5-Year Anniversary of Obamacare

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 23, 2015:

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate health committee, today released the following statement on the 5th anniversary of Obamacare being signed into law:

“Five years ago this week, President Obama signed into law a piece of legislation Republicans said would be an historic mistake. Since this law passed, we have seen health care costs increase for the American people, many have lost their health care plans and their choice of doctors, and freedom and flexibility in health care choices have been severely limited. Republicans have been and are still ready to head step by step in a different direction – one that emphasizes more freedom, more choices, and lower costs.”

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; March 23, 2015:

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a nurse for more than forty years and member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, released the following statement on the fifth anniversary of Obamacare being signed into law:

“Five years after Obamacare was signed into law, the broken promises are many and the hurt is real. Just ask the 16,000 Tennesseans who lost their  affordable health insurance plans through CoverTN despite the President’s pledge that ‘if you like your health care plan, you can keep it’ or the 31 million Americans expected to remain uninsured even after this law is fully implemented. Obamacare is such a disaster that the Obama Administration itself has allowed more than 40 changes to the law so far and many of the politicians responsible for this train wreck – from Kathleen Sebelius to Marilyn Tavenner – are now out of a job. As a nurse for more than 40 years, I understand the need for health care reform, but this top-down rewrite of one-sixth of our economy was never the way to do it. On this unhappy anniversary, the results are in: Obamacare was a mistake that harms the very people it pretends to help. Today, our case for repealing and replacing this law couldn’t be stronger,” said Congressman Diane Black.

Alexander, Cohen Statements on King v. Burwell Oral Arguments

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 4, 2015:

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 4 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate health committee, released the following statement on today’s Supreme Court oral arguments in the King v. Burwell case, which Alexander attended:

“Hopefully the Supreme Court will rule that the law means what it says. If the court does, states will have two options for the 6 million Americans who today receive tax credit subsidies. First, states without exchanges can still create them, but Republicans in Congress will provide a better option. We will act to provide financial assistance those Americans hurt by this as well as offer states more flexibility in offering lower cost insurance policies to their citizens.”

On Monday, Alexander, along with U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah (chairman of the Senate Finance Committee) and John Barrasso of Wyoming (chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee) published an op-ed in the Washington Post about what Congress should do if the Court decides against the president in this case.

Press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. 09; March 4, 2015:

As the United States Supreme Court hears oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the case regarding the legality of tax subsidies going to consumers of health insurance purchased through the federal health care marketplace, Tennesseans should be made aware of what is actually at stake in this lawsuit.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 187,856 Tennesseans currently receive monthly pro-rated tax subsidies to help them afford insurance coverage purchased through the federally-run marketplace. Nationwide, these subsidies average $268 per person, per month. In the event that the Court rules in favor of the Burwell plaintiffs (a ruling that would directly contradict Congressional intent as it has been clearly and explicitly expressed by the law’s authors) 187,856 Tennessee citizens would immediately lose these subsidies, effectively causing their monthly insurance premiums to skyrocket by hundreds of dollars each month and making health coverage unaffordable for many, if not all.

Estimates from the Urban Institute indicate that, despite years of the number of uninsured Americans falling because of the President Affordable Care Act, the United States uninsured rate would jump by 30%, disproportionately in the South, should the Court rule in favor of the plaintiffs. This is an unacceptable outcome, and it would throw our state’s—and our nation’s—health insurance systems into chaos while measurably and significantly harming the health of our citizens.

Black, Others Introduce Health Care Conscience Rights Act

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; February 26, 2015: 

Bill Offers Full Exemption from Obamacare’s HHS Mandate, Conscience Protections for Health Care Entities that Refuse to Provide Abortions 

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-01), and Congressman John Fleming (R-LA-04) announced the reintroduction of H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act. The bill would protect Americans’ freedom of conscience and stop the Obama Administration’s attack on religious liberty. H.R. 940 offers full exemption from Obamacare’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate and ensures protections for individuals and healthcare entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer patients to abortion providers because of their deeply held beliefs.

The legislation would also specifically address the unlawful violation of religious freedom in California, where the state Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued a directive requiring that all insurance plans offered on the state exchange include coverage for abortions, including plans provided by churches, religious entities, and others with conscionable objections to such procedures. The Health Care Conscience Rights Act has the bipartisan support of 110 cosponsors.

“Religious freedom is a bedrock value of our society but, on President Obama’s watch, this time-honored principle is under assault,” said Congressman Diane Black. “From Obamacare’s coercive HHS mandate to the unlawful, pro-abortion directive by the state boards in California, it is clear that Congress must act where the White House will not and reverse this infringement of our First Amendment rights. That is why our bill offers full exemption from the HHS mandate and provides needed legal protections for healthcare entities who refuse to partake in the barbaric practice of abortion. As a nurse for more than 40 years, I am proud to introduce this legislation that will safeguard the conscience rights of every American and ensure that more unborn lives can be saved in the process.”

“The rights of conscience and religious freedom preexist the government. They are rights grounded by the demands of human dignity and are enshrined in our Constitution. It is a true poverty—that in the name of health care—this most cherished American principle is under assault, violating longstanding legislative agreement and precedent. The Health Care Conscience Rights Act restores this principle for all Americans,” said Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.

“The Administration’s actions are a direct assault on Americans’ religious liberties, forcing people of faith to violate their deeply held religious beliefs,” said Congressman John Fleming. “H.R. 940 will get at the heart of the issue: providing protections against coercive government practices; codifying the Weldon amendment to allow physicians and health care entities to provide quality care without being forced to participate in an abortion;  and providing a private right of action so that victims of government discrimination can seek justice.”

Relevant Background:

Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Ruling
The Supreme Court rejected Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate in favor of family businesses in last year’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stories, Inc. verdict, however Congressional action is still needed to bring clarity to this debate. Following the court’s ruling, HHS devised an “accommodation” that still requires closely held, faith-based businesses to contract out with insurance companies that will provide coverage for the morally objectionable drugs and devices. The Obama Administration’s workaround does nothing to allow small business owners the freedom to provide health care plans that match their values, it simply removes the employers’ “fingerprints” from the transaction.

California Abortion Directive
On August 22, 2014, California’s DMHC issued a directive requiring that all plans offered on their exchanges – including those purchased by churches and religious charities – to include coverage for abortion. This is a direct violation of a longstanding federal law known as the Weldon Amendment. Reps. Fleming, Black, and Fortenberry – among other members – led a November 25, 2014 letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell calling attention to this injustice. To date, the Administration has not responded.  The Health Care Conscience Rights Act would specifically address this overreach.

TN Senate Dems Fret About Impact of Anti-Exchange Bill

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus; February 24, 2015:

Legislation would ensure Supreme Court ruling strips people of health care

NASHVILLE – Weeks after a committee denied a full vote on Insure Tennessee, a new piece of legislation will be heard in committee today that could take health insurance away from 229,000 people who already have it.

“This legislation addresses a hypothetical scenario, but it could have very real consequences for a lot of Tennesseans,” Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Jeff Yarbro said. “It would be tragic for Tennesseans to lose the security of health insurance just to prove an ideological point.”

While Insure Tennessee would have covered people who earn between 100-138% of the federal poverty level, others who earn between 138-400% of the federal poverty level receive tax credits to buy insurance on the federal exchange.

SB 72 is on the calendar for today’s 1:30 p.m. meeting of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. It seeks to prohibit Tennessee from establishing a state exchange if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in King v. Burwell that Tennesseans who purchase insurance on the exchange are ineligible for federal tax credits. For most of the 229,000 Tennesseans who used the federal exchange to purchase insurance, this legislation would effectively eliminate their health care coverage. A ruling could come as early as this summer.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Tennesseans are receiving more than $700 million in federal tax subsidies that would vanish if the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration. Notably, the proponents of SB 72 signed onto an amicus brief with the court, arguing that Tennesseans should not receive tax credits and cost assistance.

“It’s hard to believe we’re now starting a process to take insurance away from hundreds of thousands of people who already have it,” Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris said. “I hope someone wakes me up from this. This is a nightmare.”

Black: Incorrect Obamacare Tax Info Sent to Consumers ‘Beyond Embarrassing’ for Obama

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; February 20, 2015:

Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a member of the Ways & Means Health Subcommittee and nurse for more than 40 years, released the following statement on the news that the Obama Administration sent 800,000 HealthCare.gov customers incorrect tax information, which may result in delayed tax refunds:

“The Obama Administration has built a healthcare law so complex, so confusing, and so costly that even they don’t know how to properly administer it,” said Congressman Diane Black. “From a faulty website, to staggering cost estimates, to more Administration-led delays, the hits just keep coming under Obamacare. Now, the White House tells us in a classic Friday news dump that nearly one million Americans could see their tax refunds delayed because of this President’s inability to implement his own law. This is beyond embarrassing for President Obama and is an unfair blow to taxpayers who are once again left holding the bag for this Administration’s incompetence. Moreover, it is yet another example of why the House voted earlier this month with my support to repeal this disastrous law once and for all.”

Roe, Black, Blackburn Praise Obamacare Repeal Legislation

Press release from U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. 01; February 3, 2015:

Roe Statement on Obamacare Repeal Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House passed legislation to repeal Obamacare and to direct the committees of jurisdiction in Congress to develop a replacement bill that increases access to health insurance, lowers cost and improves quality. Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) was unable to be in Washington for the vote because of a family illness, but released the following statement on the legislation:

“As an outspoken opponent of Obamacare, I was proud to cosponsor this legislation, which repeals the president’s health care law and lays the groundwork for a patient-centered alternative. I am glad the House passed this bill, and I hope the Senate will take up this important legislation so we can keep our promise to protect the American people from this terribly flawed and unworkable law. I strongly support this measure and will continue to push for a full repeal of Obamacare and for alternative solutions that will lower costs and increase access to health care.”

“I want to repeal this bill and replace it with something a lot simpler that will actually work, which is why I introduced the American Health Care Reform Act. I’m still convinced we can right the wrongs of Obamacare, but it’s going to take a complete overhaul. I will continue to push conservative, market-based health care reform that will actually lower the cost of health care for American families while allowing them the freedom and flexibility to make their own health care decisions.”

In the last Congress, Rep. Roe introduced the Republican Study Committee’s alternative to Obamacare. The bill, H.R. 3121, the American Health Care Reform Act, had more than 130 cosponsors. More information about H.R. 3121 can be found here.

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; February 3, 2015:

Rep. Black on House Floor: Obamacare “Hurts the Very People It Pretends to Help”

[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KzspXtP28k[/youtube]

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a member of the Ways & Means Health Subcommittee and nurse for more than 40 years, spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 596. If enacted, this legislation would repeal the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, and direct appropriate House committees to devise a patient-centered replacement to this law. The bill, which Congressman Black cosponsored, is expected to receive a vote on final passage in the House later this afternoon. A transcript of Rep. Black’s remarks is below or click here for a video.

Mister Speaker, as a nurse for more than 40 years, I saw how decisions in Washington impacted real people.

I witnessed the effects of Congress’s actions on my patients’ faces and in their billing statements.

I understand better than most the need for health care reform but Obamacare was never the way to do it.

Just ask the 16,000 Tennesseans who lost their health insurance through CoverTN despite the President’s promise that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” Or the 11 million small business employees that CMS says will see their premiums spike because of this law.

The results are in: Obamacare was a mistake that hurts the very people it pretends to help. That is why, today, I will vote to repeal this law once and for all.

I yield back.

Resources:

Press release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. 07; February 3, 20

Blackburn Votes to Repeal Obamacare, Says Law is Too Expensive To Afford
Works to restore healthcare choice & options for American people

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) issued the following statement in support of legislation to repeal Obamacare, H.R. 596, which passed the House today as part of the continued effort to protect consumers from President Obama’s disastrous healthcare law.

“House Republicans remain united in our opposition to the damage done by Obamacare. It is clear to us and clear to our constituents that this law is not affordable,” Blackburn said. “Obamacare is taking us back to the day of old major medical policies with high deductibles, high premiums, and limited choice of doctors and hospitals.

“Over 100 bills have already been introduced this Congress to undo the damage caused by President Obama’s failed healthcare law. One of those bills is my legislation, H.R. 543, the Health Care Choice Act that would empower consumers by giving them the ability to purchase affordable health insurance coverage with a range of options from any provider in any state in the country.

“One thing is clear — Obamacare is not working. It’s time to get it off the books and replace it with common sense solutions that will restore choice and options for the American people.”

Click Here for Video of Blackburn’s Remarks in Support of the Bill

Haslam Pitches Insure TN to Joint Session of General Assembly

Press release from the office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; February 2, 2015:

Governor’s plan provides health care coverage to more Tennesseans at no cost to the state

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam this evening addressed a joint convention of the 109th General Assembly as legislators began an extraordinary legislative session to consider his Insure Tennessee plan.

The proposal, a two-year pilot program to provide market-based health care coverage to more than 250,000 Tennesseans who currently don’t have access to health insurance or have limited options, does not create any new taxes for Tennesseans and will not add any state cost to the budget.

“Two years ago, the General Assembly made two requests of us,” Haslam said.  “First, to bring a unique and specific plan to Tennessee that met the needs of our citizens and was financially responsible for our state and the country, and secondly, to bring that plan back to the General Assembly for a vote.

“I have done both of those things.  This plan is overwhelmingly supported by Republicans and Democrats in our state.  Tonight, I am asking for your vote to help Insure Tennessee.”

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the federal government could not force states to expand their Medicaid programs, the governor went before the legislature the next spring to announce that Tennessee would not expand its Medicaid program.  He also said at the time that he didn’t think it made sense for Tennessee to reject federal dollars that Tennesseans are paying for, that are going to other states and that could cover more Tennesseans who need insurance, so he started to work on a third way – a “Tennessee plan.”

“After nearly two years of hard work, we have a Tennessee-specific plan that addresses health outcomes and cost,” Haslam said. “This is not Obamacare. If it was, it wouldn’t have taken this long to negotiate. We have done what you asked us to do and what we said we would do.  We found a unique, Tennessee solution,” Haslam said.

Citing his own opposition to the Affordable Care Act, especially for its failure to address health care costs, Haslam continued, “As a Republican elected leader, I feel like we owe the country answers as to what we would do about health care.  For too long, we’ve said what we don’t like – mainly Obamacare.  This is a chance to show what we would do.”

The plan would provide coverage to more than 250,000 uninsured Tennesseans earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, valued at slightly over $16,000 a year for an individual and $27,000 for a family of three.

Five key areas of the governor’s plan include: a fiscally sound and sustainable program; providing two new private market choices for Tennesseans; shifting the delivery model and payment of health care in Tennessee from fee-for-service to outcomes based; incentivizing Tennesseans to be more engaged and to take more personal responsibility in their health; and preparing participants for eventual transition to commercial health coverage.

The governor announced his Insure Tennessee proposal in December and issued a proclamation last month to convene the “extraordinary session” of the 109th General Assembly to consider a joint resolution.  The special session, the first of the Haslam administration, began today at 4 p.m. CST.

Kelsey Releases Open Letter from County GOP Chairmen Opposed to Insure TN

Press release from Tennessee Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown; February, 2, 2015:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin) today will accept a letter from a statewide coalition of conservative leaders and activists who oppose Medicaid expansion. Sen. Brian Kelsey stated, “Republican opposition to Obamacare Medicaid expansion is gaining momentum. These county party chairmen reflect the grassroots Republican opposition that is taking hold in the legislature.” Kelsey and Durham will discuss the open letter on behalf of the legislature at a press conference today at 10:30 am, scheduled for Hearing Room LP30.

Signatories to the letter include current chairs and party members from counties served by rural hospitals, such as West Tennessee Healthcare in Weakley County. Signatories also include persons recently included on a list of circulated by supporters of Medicaid expansion who did not intend to support the governor’s proposal. Party chairs signing the letter:

  • Rachel Welch–Chairman, Putnam County Republican Party
  • Gayle Jones–Chairman, Giles County Republican Party
  • Barry Hutcherson–Chairman, Chester County Republican Party
  • Chris Thompson–Chairman, Pickett County Republican Party
  • Dolores DiGeatano, MD–Chairman, Fayette County Republican Party
  • David Baldovin–Chairman, Moore county Republican Party
  • Sue Jackson–Chairman, Obion County Republican Party
  • Daniel Williams–Chairman, Carroll County Republican Party
  • Ben Nixon–Chairman, Warren County Republican Party
  • Harold Kemp–Chairman, Macon County Republican Party
  • Constance Hightower–Chairman, Hamblen County Republican Party
  • Debbie Baldwin–Chairman, Benton County Republican Party
  • Judi Swilling–Chairman, Claiborne County Republican Party
  • Jimmy Knight–Chairman, Union County Republican Party
  • Fred Ellis–Chairman, Lincoln County Republican Party
  • Ken Coppinger–Chairman, Rhea County Republican Party
  • Richard Swink–Chairman, Robertson County Republican Party
  • Ronald Wayne King–Chairman, Scott County Republican Party
  • Robert Dunham–Chairman, White County Republican Party

An excerpt from the letter reads, “As conservatives in our communities, we have worked hard to elect leaders we trust will uphold our values of shrinking government, imposing less taxes and costs on businesses and individuals, and embracing a free market.

“We reject ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. And we need you to stand strong on these principles in the coming special session.” A copy of the letter is attached.

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Dear Legislators:

As conservatives in our communities, we have worked hard to elect leaders we trust will uphold our values of shrinking government, imposing less taxes and costs on businesses and individuals, and embracing a free market.

We reject ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. And we need you to stand strong on these principles in the coming special session.

Although Governor Haslam originally opposed Obamacare, it appears he has chosen to abandon those principles now that he is safely in his second term. His proposal for Insure Tennessee is no more than expansion of Obamacare by another name.

Nearly 9 in 10 Tennesseans eligible for Medicaid expansion are working-age adults without dependent children to support, according to the Urban Institute. Instead of adding a whole new generation onto welfare programs like Medicaid, we need to get working-age adults working again. Our state deserves a clear path to jobs and prosperity―not an ObamaCare Medicaid expansion like Insure Tennessee.

We are also concerned about how this ObamaCare Medicaid expansion is funded. In particular, $716 billion will be cut from Medicare in order to pay for the Medicaid expansion and other parts of the law, according to The Heritage Foundation. Medicaid expansion breaks the Medicare promise we made 50 years ago. And if other state Medicaid expansions are any indication, Medicaid costs will skyrocket―putting Tennessee seniors at further risk.

We are all aware of the mess that TennCare created and the difficulty our state had when we had to end the program and kick 350,000 Tennesseans off the Medicaid rolls.

Governor Haslam’s “two year pilot program” reeks of the same issues that we had less than a decade ago. Tennessee should not make the same mistake again.

We reject the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion known as Insure Tennessee. On behalf of many local Republicans oppose this expansion, we urge you to do what’s right for Tennessee and stand strong against this proposal.

Sincerely,

Tennessee Republican Party Chairs

MTSU Poll: Few Tennesseans Aware of Haslam’s Medicaid Expansion Plan

Press release from MTSU Poll; January 31, 2015:

But support higher than opposition among those who have

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Two-thirds of Tennesseans haven’t heard much about Gov. Bill Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” health care proposal, but among the third who have, support substantially outweighs opposition, according to the latest MTSU Poll.

The poll randomly surveyed 600 adult residents statewide a week before a special legislative session kicks off Monday to consider the measure. The survey’s margin of error is 4 percentage points.

“Gov. Haslam has gotten a notable head start in promoting the measure among Tennesseans,” said Ken Blake, director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University. “But his opponents have a lot of maneuvering room left among the two in three Tennesseans who are still largely unaware of the measure.”

Conducted Jan. 25-27, the poll first asked Tennesseans how much they had heard about “a proposal from Gov. Bill Haslam called ‘Insure Tennessee,’ which is designed to provide health insurance for Tennesseans who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford coverage on their own.” A follow-up question asked how they felt “right now about the governor’s ‘Insure Tennessee’ proposal.”

According to the results:

  • Thirty-three percent of Tennesseans have read or heard “a lot” (10 percent) or “some” (23 percent) about “Insure Tennessee,” while 66 percent have heard either “a little” (31 percent) or “nothing at all” (36 percent).
  • Among the 33 percent who have at least some information, 49 percent favor the proposal, 11 percent oppose it, and 40 percent are unsure or haven’t made up their minds.
  • Meanwhile, among the 66 percent who have heard little or nothing, 69 percent don’t know how they feel about it, while 26 percent expressed support, and 5 percent, opposition.
  • Overall, regardless of how much they have read or heard about the measure, 34 percent favor Insure Tennessee, 7 percent oppose it, and 59 percent remain uncertain.

Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll, emphasized the importance of accounting for how much Tennesseans know about the governor’s proposal when estimating their attitudes toward it.

“For obvious reasons, we try to avoid estimating public opinion about an issue before most of the public has become aware of it,” Reineke said. “But when the issue is the focus of a weeklong special legislative session, a public affairs poll like ours can’t simply ignore it. So we measured awareness first, then did our best to estimate support within high- and low-awareness groups.”

Reineke cautioned that people who knew little about Insure Tennessee before being polled probably answered based on whatever information they absorbed from the poll question itself. “Their opinions might change easily as they encounter additional information about the measure, including what is being said by the measure’s supporters and opponents.”

By contrast, people who had already heard or read something before being polled were more likely to express a previously developed opinion, Reineke said. ”Opinions expressed by these individuals probably will be relatively more stable over time, although any opinion can change at any time in response to new developments or information.”

Some demographic patterns are evident. For example, among Tennesseans who have heard a lot or some about Insure Tennessee, support is higher among those with at least some college education. Among those who have heard little or nothing, support is greater among minorities than among whites.

There is some evidence of higher support overall among Democrats and independents than among Republicans, but the pattern disappears after Tennesseans are divided according to how much they have heard about the proposal.

Find previous MTSU Poll results at www.mtsupoll.org.

Methodology

Interviews for the poll were conducted by Issues & Answers Network Inc., which completed 600 telephone surveys among a random sample of Tennessee residents aged 18 and over.

Data was collected using Tennessee statewide RDD sample with a mix of 80 percent landline and 20 percent cell phones. The average interview length was 13 minutes.

Quotas by gender and geographic region were implemented to ensure the sampled respondents were representative of Tennessee’s adult population. U.S. Census Bureau data were used to determine the gender distribution each of Tennessee’s Grand Divisions: East, Middle and West. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points, meaning that we are 95 percent confident that the actual result lies within 4 percentage points (in either direction) of the result our sample produced.

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Interactive graphic available here.

Haslam: If Insure TN Was Obamacare It Wouldn’t Have Taken 2 Years

Letter from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; January 30, 2015:

Reaching Our Full Potential

On January 17, I was honored to be sworn in for my second term as governor. I see this job as being part of a historically significant relay race. I was handed the baton four years ago, and it’s my job to be intentional about advancing that baton during my eight years in office and handing it off to the next governor in a better position than it was handed to me.

One thing I can guarantee you that we are not going to do in the next four years is coast to the finish line. The decisions that we make are too important to the 6.5 million Tennesseans who are alive today and even more important for the generations that will follow us.

You can click here to read my inaugural address and here to see footage from the day.

Insure Tennessee

On Monday, the General Assembly will begin a special session to consider Insure Tennessee, a two-year pilot program to provide market-based health insurance coverage to more than 250,000 Tennesseans currently without access at no additional cost to taxpayers. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been visiting with legislators and providers across the state to discuss the plan, to talk about why it is so important to our state, and to answer questions and address concerns.

I believe the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) was bad for this country. It only addressed coverage for more people without doing the more difficult and important work of addressing cost.

Insure Tennessee is not Obamacare.  It wouldn’t have taken us nearly two years to negotiate with Washington to get the concessions we have if it was. This is a Tennessee-specific alternative to traditional Medicaid expansion that promotes better health outcomes and helps us control health care costs, which as an American I see as one of the biggest challenges our country faces. Doing nothing is not an option. Our approach is a critical first step to fundamentally changing health care in Tennessee.

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I hope 2015 is off to a great start for you and your family. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this issue or anything else that’s on your mind.

Best,
Bill

Click here to see the 2014 timeline, highlights from our fourth year in office.