Senate Democrats Try to Add Coverage Mandates to ‘Health Freedom Act’

Press Release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; Feb. 23, 2011:

Senate Democrats fight to protect heath care for students, seniors, uninsured

NASHVILLE – Senate Democrats fought Wednesday to protect health coverage for thousands of students, seniors and previously uninsured citizens as Republicans continue to fight political battles instead of addressing real issues affecting Tennesseans.

“It’s disappointing that the majority party continues to ignore the pressing issues of this state,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Secretary/Treasurer Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis). “Instead, Republicans pass bills that don’t even do what they claim. They’re pulling a bait-and-switch on their own base.”

Senate Bill 79, as written, is a powerless bill addressing federal health care legislation. Senate Democrats offered four amendments to protect coverage for the following groups:

• Tennessee’s children and young adults, up to age 26;

• Tennesseans with preexisting conditions;

• More than 48,400 Medicare recipients in Tennessee whose vital prescription medications are not covered

• Tennesseans dropped from their private insurance plans for exceeding their lifetime maximums.

Republicans defeated all four amendments on party-line votes.

“I wanted to ensure that a person isn’t denied health care coverage simply because of a preexisting condition,” said Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney (D-Jackson).

“Unfortunately, the majority party wanted to make a political statement instead. Our communities need jobs and our schools need help. We should be working together on those issues.”

The House version of the bill is in a subcommittee.