Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; February 9, 2015:
Ongoing Power Struggle Between Ramsey and Gov. Haslam Threatens Tennesseans’ Lives
Nashville, Tenn. (February 9, 2015) – In an overt snub to Governor Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey stacked the State Senate’s Health and Welfare Committee with “no” votes to kill Insure Tennessee, the Governor’s proposed health care plan.
Rather than working with his own party’s Governor on his top legislative priority and providing hardworking Tennesseans with access to quality, affordable health care, Ramsey rigged the Senate Health and Welfare Committee by removing three health care professionals and the bill’s sponsor and replacing them with hand-picking vocal opponents of Insure Tennessee [see attached graphic]. If he had allowed the duly appointed standing Health and Welfare Committee to remain intact and rule on the proposal, Insure Tennessee would have likely passed by at least a 6-3 vote. Ramsey’s crass power play ensured the death of Insure Tennessee.
The result of Ramsey’s rigged committee:
- The lives of approximately 280,000 working Tennesseans are now in danger as they will continue to go without health care.
- Billions of dollars of taxpayer money will be lost – money that hardworking Tennesseans have already paid in taxes will now flow to other states to pay for their health care.
- As many as one-third of the state’s hospitals remain in danger of closing, resulting in thousands of lost jobs and endangering rural Tennesseans, who will have to drive several counties away in order to receive emergency care.
- Businesses will avoid those regions of our state where there is no hospital.
Also to be noted is that six of the seven Republican senators who voted to kill Insure Tennessee accept and benefit from health care coverage provided to them by their employer – the state of Tennessee.
It is the height of hypocrisy to not only accept taxpayer-funded health coverage while denying it to others, but also to pretend that the legislative process was fair when it was rigged from the beginning.