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Press Releases

Overbey Sponsoring Insure TN, Looking Forward to Discussion

Statement from Tennessee Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville; January 30, 2015:

“I accepted the opportunity to sponsor Insure Tennessee in the Senate after meeting with Governor Haslam this week and thoroughly discussing the program with him.  During our conversation, I became convinced that Insure Tennessee is uniquely crafted to meet our specific needs while utilizing conservative principles.  Insure Tennessee brings market principles and individual responsibility to the program.  The program is designed to control health care costs and improve access to many working poor Tennesseans who would otherwise have no access to affordable health insurance.”

“This program is especially important to struggling rural hospitals that lost funding under the Affordable Care Act for treating poor patients who cannot pay.  Unless it is approved, the loss of this funding could lead to the closure of some of our rural hospitals, meaning life and death for citizens in these areas to get to the nearest hospitals in a time of medical crisis.  Those closures would also put more stress on hospitals statewide, placing our healthcare system in jeopardy.”

“I look forward to talking with my colleagues as we begin the special session on Monday about this legislation and how Governor Haslam’s proposal will benefit the citizens of our state.”

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Press Releases

Alexander, Hatch File Bill to Repeal Employer Mandate

Press release from the US. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; January 29, 2015:

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced the American Job Protection Act, S. 305, a bill to repeal Obamacare’s job-killing employer mandate.  Under the President’s health law, businesses with 50 or more equivalent employees are required to offer health insurance of minimum value or pay a penalty between $2,000 and $3,000 for each employee working 30 hours or more a week.  The Chairmen were joined by 26 senators in cosponsoring the bill.

“Obamacare’s burdensome employer mandate continues to hinder job-creation and growth, and the best action Washington can take is to repeal it entirely,” said Hatch.  “By doing away with the mandate, job-creators will be able to grow their businesses without the added concern of reaching an arbitrary and punitive threshold.  Repealing this job-killing mandate will put American small businesses back in a position to hire again. That means more jobs for the American people and more growth for the American economy.”

“The havoc Obamacare’s misguided employer mandate is wreaking in American workplaces was every bit as predictable as it was preventable, as Republicans warned over and over that an employer mandate would do exactly what it’s doing: businesses that employ many of our lowest-income workers are cutting jobs and many other businesses are reducing the number of hours their employees work to avoid the mandate’s high cost,” said Alexander. Until we have a Republican president and can repeal Obamacare, the responsible thing to do is repeal the employer mandate—one of several steps we can take to repair the damage Obamacare has done.”

Joining the Chairmen in cosponsoring the bill were Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.),Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Deb Fischer(R-Neb.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.),Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), David Vitter(R-La.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

The employer mandate went into effect in 2014.  Employers are subsequently experiencing the full negative effects of the mandate and are basing decisions about their businesses going forward around the mandate’s impacts.   A recent Gallup survey of small employers found that 11 times as many small business owners believe that the PPACA will increase their health care costs as opposed to those who believe that it will reduce costs.  Overall, approximately half of small business owners believe that the PPACA will be bad for business, compared to only 9 percent who expect it to have a beneficial impact. These expectations are forcing action: employers are holding back on hiring new employees or have slowed plans to grow their business.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Outlook Survey released in April 2013 found that the requirements of the health care law are now the biggest concern for small businesses. Of small business respondents, 77 percent say the health care law will make coverage for their employees more expensive, and 71 percent say the law makes it harder for them to hire more employees. As a result of the employer mandate, one-third of small businesses plan to reduce hiring, and will cut back hours to reduce the number of full-time employees.

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Press Releases

Black: Healthcare.gov ‘as Flawed’ as Obamacare

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; January 28, 2015:

[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc7YwAVDXpg[/youtube]

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) spoke on the House floor to highlight continued privacy concerns on Healthcare.gov. As Congressman Black noted in her remarks, the Obama Administration was recently found to have shared users’ personal data – including age, income, zip code, and smoking and pregnancy status – with numerous third party vendors.

Yesterday, Congressman Black and Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA-07) led a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding answers regarding the Administration’s data-sharing practices. Reps. Black and Meehan also reintroduced the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015, legislation requiring the government to notify affected users if their information is breached on the federal healthcare exchanges. Currently, there is no law requiring the federal government to issue these notifications, even though it is required in most state-based exchanges and in the private sector.

A transcript of Rep. Black’s remarks on the House floor are below, or click here for a video.

Mister Speaker, more than a year after its launch, Healthcare.gov remains just as flawed as the underlying Obamacare law itself. Most recently, we learned the Obama Administration was sharing users’ personal data with numerous third party vendors.

When the Administration was caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they quietly scaled this back but many unanswered questions remain. That is why I led a letter with Congressman Pat Meehan demanding answers regarding Healthcare.gov data security and privacy policies.

While we await their reply, we also reintroduced the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act—legislation simply requiring the government to notify consumers if their personal information is breached on the healthcare exchanges.

It defies all logic that this basic requirement isn’t already law – it’s time we change that. I yield back.

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Press Releases

Black Files Legislation to Require Feds Notify Consumers if Data Breached on Healthcare.gov

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; January 27, 2015:

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) and Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA-07) led a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner demanding information on the Obama Administration’s practice of sharing consumers’ private information through Healthcare.gov. You can read a copy of the letter here. Reps. Black and Meehan also introduced the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015. This legislation would simply require the government to notify consumers if their personal information is breached on the Healthcare.gov exchanges. Currently there is no such requirement under federal law – despite similar standards being in place for the private sector and state-run exchanges.

The Associated Press reported last week that numerous third-party vendors were given access to consumers’ personal data – including age, income, zip code, and smoking and pregnancy status – through Healthcare.gov. Rep. Black immediately responded to the report, citing “inherent security flaws” in the Healthcare.gov website and calling for data-breach notification legislation to protect users’ personal information when accessing the federal healthcare exchanges. Last Friday, the Obama Administration announced that it would “scale back” data sharing on Healthcare.gov, however it is still unclear what information will continue to be transmitted and what is done with information that was already collected.

As Reps. Black and Meehan point out in their letter to HHS and CMS, the Obama Administration’s practice of disseminating users’ personal information directly contradicts Healthcare.gov’s own privacy policy which states, “No personally identifiable information is collected.” Reps. Black and Meehan released the following statements on their letter and newly introduced legislation:

“I have warned for over a year now of security and privacy concerns under Healthcare.gov. Sadly, from the website’s hacking last summer, to these latest revelations of data-sharing without users’ knowledge or consent, the Obama Administration continues to show that our concerns are well-founded and that Americans’ personal information on this site remains at risk,” said Congressman Diane Black. “Americans deserve the highest standards of privacy and confidentiality when enrolling in health insurance, and they certainly shouldn’t be left holding the bag for this Administration’s failure to maintain a secure website. That is why my letter to the Administration demands answers on Healthcare.gov’s privacy and security standards and seeks information on what data was collected by Healthcare.gov, how long it was stored, and in what way it was secured.”

Congressman Black added, “In light of the Obama Administration’s latest failing, I am proud to reintroduce the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015. This commonsense legislation will simply require the government to notify affected consumers if their personal information is compromised on Healthcare.gov. It defies all logic that this basic requirement is not already law. I was pleased to carry this legislation in the last Congress and will fight once again for its passage so that Americans can take action to protect themselves in the event of an Obamacare security breach.”

“It is unacceptable that security and privacy failures keep happening with Healthcare.gov,”said Congressman Patrick Meehan. “No American should have to fear their data will be exploited or compromised through HealthCare.gov. The data on the exchanges is among families’ most private, and it should not be shared without a user’s consent. The legislation we have introduced today will ensure that the feds live up to their obligation to disclose data breaches on the federal exchange and come clean with consumers.”

Resources:

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Press Releases

Blackburn Introduces Bill to Allow Purchase of Health Insurance Across State Lines

Press release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. 07; January 27, 2015:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today renewed her fight to repeal Obamacare and replace it with her proposal to allow consumers to shop for insurance across state lines. Blackburn introduced H.R. 543, the Health Care Choice Act of 2015, which would empower consumers by giving them the ability to purchase affordable health insurance coverage with a range of options. The bill has 14 original cosponsors.

“We all know that the consumer can make better choices for their health care than a Washington bureaucrat,” Blackburn said. “The Health Care Choice Act offers a common sense solution that will replace Washington mandates with interstate competition by allowing consumers to shop for health insurance just like they do for other insurance products – online, by mail, over the phone, or in consultation with an insurance agent in their hometown.

“Instead of requiring every health plan to carry so many mandates that it becomes unaffordable, the Health Care Choice Act frees insurance companies to compete for your business across state lines, offering better options for lower prices.”

Original cosponsors of the Health Care Choice Act of 2015 include: Rep. Diane Black (TN-06); Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-03); Rep. Scott DesJarlais(TN-04); Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03); Rep. Chris Gibson (NY-19); Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02); Rep. Gregg Harper (MS-03); Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16); Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07); Rep. Billy Long (MO-07); Rep. Mia Love (UT-04); Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04); Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22); and Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01).

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Press Releases

Black: Obama Administration Decision to Limit Healthcare.gov Data Sharing ‘Welcome News’

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

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) released the below statement on the news that the Obama Administration reversed its policy of sharing consumer data on Healthcare.gov. The Associated Press previously reported that “certain personal details — including age, income, and smoking habits — were being passed along, likely without consumers’ knowledge” to third-party sites. In a previous statement, Rep. Black said the revelations point to “inherent security flaws” in the Healthcare.gov website.

“While the Obama Administration’s decision to limit its data sharing practices on Healthcare.gov is certainly welcome news, it begs the question – why was this information shared in the first place? To what extent will the policy actually be ‘scaled back’ and what becomes of the information that was previously collected? Americans are already doubting the Obama Administration’s competence to handle their most personal information, particularly given the successful hacking of Healthcare.gov just last year. This data sharing policy, and the Administration’s sudden about-face in a classic Friday news dump only adds to the laundry list of questions my constituents have regarding the handling of the Obamacare exchanges,” said Congressman Diane Black.

Rep. Black added, “To add to the Obama Administration’s Healthcare.gov woes, this news coincides with the release of a government report finding that the Obama Administration did not bother to properly vet the contractors responsible for developing this website in the first place. With or without the Administration’s risky information-sharing practices in place, Healthcare.gov continues to be a stunning display of the Obama Administration’s haphazard approach to the rollout of this law.”

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Press Releases

Alexander Prods Senate to Join House in Voting to Re-establish the 40 Hour Work Week

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; January 22, 2015:

Says Obamacare’s Definition of Full-time as 30 Hours is Causing Thousands of Low-wage Workers to Lose Hours and Income

 Washington, D.C., January 22 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate health committee, today said the Senate should change the Obamacare definition of full-time from 30 hours to 40 and give “as many as 2.6 million workers a pay raise.”

“Many businesses can’t afford Obamacare’s mandate and must reduce their number of full-time employees. The result of all this is that thousands of workers are getting a pay cut. Their work schedules are being reduced to 29 hours a week and below. This is not enough money for these workers to earn a living.”

Alexander’s full prepared remarks are below:

Let me start by telling some stories of what’s happening in Tennessee:

In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University has started limiting hours for part-time workers. This means students can no longer accept multiple on-campus work assignments. And graduate assistants might have to wait tables instead of picking up extra on-campus grant-funded research projects that would better further their careers.

From its headquarters in Knoxville, Regal Entertainment Group, the nation’s largest movie theatre chain, announced last year that it was cutting employee hours from 40 to below 30 in order to comply with Obamacare. According to a news report, “One Regal theatre manager [said] the move has sparked a wave of resignations from full-time managers who have seen their hours cut by 25 percent or more.”

 In Johnson City, Pam Cox, the director of finance for Johnson City Public Schools, told a local news outlet about a year ago that her district will have to hire more people to work fewer hours. She said, “It’ll be challenging to find people and it’ll also hurt the employees because where they’ve been able to work as much as they wanted in these types of positions with no benefits attached to it now we’re going to be saying, ‘we can’t let you work…even though you want to and you’re good at your job, we can’t give you the hours, give you the pay, because we can’t afford to give you the insurance.”

 So why are these things happening in Tennessee—and in every other state across the nation?

Obamacare requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance to those employees or pay a penalty at tax time. That penalty is $2,000 for each employee whom the government says should have been covered by an employer plan and $3,000 for every employee who receives a subsidy in the exchange.

The law, passed without any Republican support, defined full-time as an employee who works more than 30 hours a week. It is a strange definition—one that sounds more like France than the United States.

 The average American between the ages of 25-49 works 8.8 hours per day, or 44 hours per week, according to the American Time of Use Survey published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Obamacare definition of full-time is nearly one-third lower.

 Many businesses can’t afford Obamacare’s mandate and must reduce their number of full-time employees.

 The result of all this is that thousands of workers are getting a pay cut. Their work schedules are being reduced to 29 hours a week and below.

 This is not enough money for these workers to earn a living. Many must take second jobs.

A Hoover Institution study found the 30-hour definition puts 2.6 million working-age Americans with a median income under $14,333 for individuals and $30,000 for families at risk of losing jobs and hours. The study found:

89 percent of those affected don’t have a college degree

60 percent are between the ages of 19 and 34

63 percent of those most at risk of lost hours are women, of which half have a high school diploma or less.

These are Americans who are often working one of their first jobs, trying to work their way up the economic ladder. You have to start with a lower-paying job, a job that doesn’t require as many skills, and hope that someday your hard work will lead to a higher-paying one.

Many of these Americans are working in service industries, such as hospitality, retail and restaurants. But the Obamacare provision is affecting all kinds of employers.

In September 2014, Investor’s Business Daily reported that at least 451 employers, county governments, public schools, community colleges and universities across the country have laid off staff or reduced employee work hours to comply with the new Obamacare definition of full time.

Our public schools can’t charge higher prices to cover these mandates. They have to cut services like special education, coaches and bus drivers.

Three surveys published by Federal Reserve Banks in August found employers are increasing their proportion of part-time workers.

The Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Philadelphia specifically asked manufacturers what changes they had made because of Obamacare, and in both cities, nearly 1 in 5 respondents reported that they had increased their proportion of part-time workers.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta also surveyed businesses about changes in part-time employment and found that 25 percent of respondents currently have a higher share of part-time workers primarily because “full-time employee compensation costs have increased relative to those of part time employees.” More troubling is that 31 percent of respondents believe they will have more part-time workers 2 years from now.

There is bipartisan support for repealing this provision. This bill has 34 cosponsors—mostly Republicans, including every Republican member of this committee—but Senator Donnelly and Senator Manchin of West Virginia, also a Democrat, support it.

Republicans have talked a lot about wanting to repair the damage of Obamacare. We have also talked about wanting to get results.

This bipartisan bill should be an important step to doing both.

In fact, this reminds me of why so many of us like being on this committee—because the issues we work on affect so many Americans.

When we talk about fixing No Child Left Behind, we’re talking about 50 million children in 100,000 public schools.

When we talk about making it simpler to apply for a Pell Grant to go to college, we’re talking about simplifying a form that 20 million families fill out each year.

When we talk about modernizing the Food and Drug Administration and making it easier for Americans to access lifesaving drugs, we’re talking about something that affects nearly every American.

But today we are focused on 2.6 million Americans who are mostly low-income and at risk of losing jobs and hours.

I look forward to hearing what our witnesses have to say.

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Alexander Makes First Move to Repeal Individual Mandate

Lamar Alexander has filed a bill to repeal the portions of President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation that require all Americans purchase health insurance or pay a fine.

Tennessee’s senior U.S. senator, who chairs the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, joined Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and 20 other Republican senators in filing the “American Liberty Restoration Act” on Wednesday.

In a press release, Alexander questioned how the federal government can “continue to enforce the individual mandate” when “the law doesn’t clearly ensure that millions of Americans are allowed to receive subsidies to help cover the cost.” He added that the ACA “outlaws plans that fit family budgets.”

“Millions more Americans are in for sticker shock when they see how much they owe the IRS in April because of Obamacare. We need to focus on making health care plans affordable to Americans,” Alexander said in the release.

For 2014, the first tax year affected by the individual mandate, individuals without health insurance will have to pay a penalty of $95 or 1 percent of their income — whichever is more. In 2015, the fine will go up to $325 or 2 percent of their income.

In his State of the Union speech this week, Obama appeared to double-down on statements made in the wake of the Republican takeover of the Senate in November when he vowed to veto any attempt to undo key pillars of the Affordable Care Act.

“We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto,” Obama said Tuesday night.

Back in November, the president told reporters he would “draw some lines” when it came to future legislation dealing with Obamacare passed by the GOP-controlled Congress. He said he would not sign a repeal of the law or support any other “efforts that would take away health care from the 10 million people who now have it and the millions more who are eligible to get it.”

“In some cases there may be recommendations that Republicans have for changes that would undermine the structure of the law, and I’ll be very honest with them about that and say, look, the law doesn’t work if you pull out that piece or that piece,” he said.

One of the areas of the law Obama vowed to stand firm on was the mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance. While the president said he understood that even with provided federal subsidies some Americans may still not be able to afford their insurance, the mandate is “a central component of the law.”

“The individual mandate is a line I can’t cross because the concept, borrowed from Massachusetts, from a law instituted by a former opponent of mine, Mitt Romney, understood that if you’re providing health insurance to people through the private marketplace, then you’ve got to make sure that people can’t game the system and just wait until they get sick before they go try to buy health insurance,” Obama said in November.

The concept of the individual mandate was first discussed in the late 1980s by conservative economists and pushed by Republican-leaning groups — including the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. It was supported by GOP congressmen in the early 1990s as “a less dangerous future than what Hillary [Clinton] was trying to do [with ‘Hillarycare’],” said former U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich in December 2011.

The mandate was in part conceived of in response to the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which required any hospital accepting Medicare funding to provide emergency care for anyone in need, regardless of ability to pay. Thus were created concerns of a “free-rider” problem in which medical-industry experts and economists worried people would intentionally go without insurance, knowing that a hospital had to provide them free care.

But just as conservatives haven’t always opposed the individual-mandate concept, liberals haven’t always been on board with it.

As recently as 2008, Obama criticized Hillary Clinton over her support of the mandate. “If things were that easy, I could mandate everybody to buy a house, and that would solve the problem of homelessness. It doesn’t,” he said at the time.

In 2011, Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill passed by the Tennessee Legislature in response to the ACA which declared Tennesseans should “be free to choose or to decline to choose any mode of securing health care services without penalty or threat of penalty.”

The General Assembly will convene an “extraordinary session” of the legislature on Feb. 2, to discuss Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” proposal to expand health insurance coverage for low-income Tennesseans.  Next Tuesday, Jan. 27, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on “the legal issues raised by the governor’s proposed Obamacare Medicaid expansion plan.”

State Sen. Brian Kelsey, a Germantown Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also filed legislation earlier this month to prevent the IRS from assessing any fines on Tennesseans who haven’t signed up for health insurance. The bill would also prevent the state from operating any healthcare exchange.

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FGA: Legislators Who Support Insure TN Could Face Trouble in 2016

Press release from the Foundation for Government Accountability; January 20, 2015:

Nearly 80% of Volunteer State Voters Upset by $716 B in Cuts to Services for Seniors and the Needy to Pay for Insure Tennessee

A majority of Tennessee voters stand against ObamaCare’s Medicaid Expansion once they learn the true impacts the program will have on the state, with almost 60 percent of them opposed, says a Foundation for Government Accountability poll released today.

The poll was conducted after Gov. Bill Haslam reversed his opposition to ObamaCare to support Washington’s goal of expanding the welfare state in Tennessee, in spite of the lessons learned by the state’s failed TennCare program. Not too long ago, the TennCare Medicaid expansion nearly bankrupted the budget and forced lawmakers to kick hundreds of thousands of people off of the program to keep the state afloat. When reminded of the TennCare Medicaid expansion disaster, 62 percent of Tennessee voters said they were less likely to support the ObamaCare expansion Gov. Haslam’s wants today.

With ObamaCare still toxic, and the nightmares of the TennCare expansion debacle still fresh in peoples’ minds, Gov. Haslam is seeking to rebrand his ObamaCare Medicaid expansion plan, calling it “Insure Tennessee,” to dupe voters and legislators into thinking his welfare state expansion is both Tennessee-centric and market-based.

“There is nothing Tennessee-centric about caving to the dictates of Washington’s health care takeover through ObamaCare. Call it what you want, but the federal strings will be the same, the budget crunches will be the same, and the risks to patients and taxpayers will be the same. Insure Tennessee is ObamaCare expansion in disguise,” said FGA CEO Tarren Bragdon.

“Tennessee was able to climb out of the hole it dug itself after the TennCare expansion, but that may not be the case this time around. After the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion raises premiums, after the feds renege on their promises, after truly needy patients are pushed to the back of the line, the state may have no legal way to back out.”

While the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion was optional—doing so would turn these new expansion enrollees into a so-called mandatory population—the court did not clarify whether a state can back out of an ObamaCare expansion after passing it without losing their federal funding for all Medicaid enrollees. Upon learning that the state may not be able to reverse its decision after it expands Medicaid, two-thirds of Tennessee voters said they were less supportive. 73% of voters said they were less likely to support Haslam’s ObamaCare expansion plan knowing it could rob funding for critical priorities including education, safety and roads.

“Tennesseans don’t want Gov. Haslam’s ObamaCare Medicaid expansion. It’s time for the legislature to stand up for their citizens and protect them from a massive expansion of ObamaCare,” said Bragdon. “Gov. Haslam may be captivated by the allure of allegedly free money from Washington, but leaders in the Legislature need to keep a clear head and fight for what’s right for the people of Tennessee.”

When Haslam starts talking with legislators about Insure Tennessee, someone should remind him that the people of Tennessee don’t want to see the care of their parents, their health care system, their taxes, and their state jeopardized just so he can win points with the President. That’s no way for a conservative leader to lead, and that’s why 57 percent of Tennesseans and 78 percent of Republicans say they are less likely to reelect a candidate if they support ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, Insure Tennessee.

The FGA poll can be viewed here.

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Insure TN Advocacy Group Kicks Off Ad, Direct Mail Campaign

Press release from the Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee; January 20, 2015:

Radio, direct mail launch on 1/20/15 fuels statewide grassroots efforts

NASHVILLE – The Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee this week began radio ads and direct mail across the state to support passage of Insure Tennessee, the conservative, market‐based health care reform plan proposed by Governor Bill Haslam.

The media launch is an addition to the vibrant statewide grassroots campaign underway that involves thousands of business, health care and civic organizations across Tennessee who are making contact with legislators. The Coalition’s media presence includes www.insuretennesseenow.com, @InsureTNNow and facebook.com/insuretennesseenow.

“It is vital for people to know that what Governor Haslam is proposing is conservative, free‐market health care reform and not more of the same Medicaid from Washington, D.C. Insure Tennessee is distinctly not traditional Medicaid expansion,” said coalition spokesman Charlie Howorth, executive director of the Tennessee Business
Roundtable. “By departing from the Washington model, Governor Haslam has found a way to provide coverage for working Tennesseans caught in the coverage gap and to stabilize rural hospitals that are currently at risk of closure. We can achieve this with no new taxes and no cost impact to the state.”

The Coalition’s radio spots began airing today in markets across Tennessee. The entire radio script reads as follows:

“Time and time again, Tennesseans have rejected the Obama agenda and his Obamacare plan that moves health care decisions out of our state and into the hands of DC bureaucrats. 

“That ‘s why Governor Haslam has introduced the Insure Tennessee Plan to cover hundreds of thousands of hard‐working Tennesseans. It’s a conservative, market‐based approach that will result in no new taxes, no new state government spending, and stability for our state’s rural hospitals.

“No new taxes and no new state government spending to make sure more of our fellow hard‐working Tennesseans have health care… That’s the conservative way, that’s the Tennessee way. 

“Call 1‐800‐449‐8366 to tell your legislator to stand with Governor Haslam and Insure Tennessee Now or go to Insure Tennessee Now Dot Com for more information on Insure Tennessee. Paid for by The Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee.”

The Coalition’s first direct mail piece, attached here, emphasizes that Insure Tennessee is “a Common Sense, Conservative Solution for True Health Care Reform in Tennessee.”

The Coalition has more than 100 members, including many large member organizations, including chambers of commerce and other health care, business and civic organizations committed to gaining approval of Insure Tennessee. The group last month launched a website – www.InsureTennesseeNow.com – and is conducting grassroots advocacy in all 95 counties. The group is led by the Tennessee Business Roundtable.

Public health care forums featuring Insure Tennessee will held in Chattanooga, Jan. 22; Jackson, Jan. 30; and Tri‐Cities, Feb. 6. Forums have been conducted in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville.

The campaign, including paid media, is entirely funded by private supporters of Insure Tennessee through the Coalition for a Healthy Tennessee.