Bill To Ban Federal Health Care Law Delayed
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (NewsChannel 5/AP) - Legislation that would ban new health insurance exchanges established under President Barack Obama's signature law has been delayed after a fiscal analysis projected the measure would cost the state more than $6 billion.
The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet was delayed until next week in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Tuesday.
Beavers said she plans to talk with state officials to find out why the cost is so high.
The proposal seeks to prohibit any cooperation by the state or its agencies in implementing or administering the federal law.
So far, more than 36,000 Tennesseans have signed up for coverage under the exchanges.
In 2011, Beavers proposed and the General Assembly passed a bill that would allow Tennesseans to opt out of the federal health care law.
Another anti-Affordable Care Act bill passed committee Tuesday.
Initially, Franklin Republican Representative Jeremy Durham's legislation stopped the state from expanding Medicaid.
He amended his bill to allow a debate should Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam propose a plan.
"I thought it was a little heavy handed to just outlaw it, so that's why we amended it to what we did. Again, I don't want to take the dollars, but this would allow it to at least come in front of the legislature," said Representative Durham.
Some Democrats said the Republican super majority is foolish for not taking more than a billion dollars of federal money to expand the federal program, which would give health insurance to an estimated 162,000 Tennessee residents and reimburse hospitals for some of their indigent or uncompensated care costs.
The catch is Tennessee would have to pay for part of the program after three years, and many Republicans worry if costs spiral out of control they'd have to cut people from the program.
There are other reasons as well.
Senator Beavers said there are Supreme Court cases that support what she is trying to do. She said if she has to amend some language in her bill to remove the expensive price tag she would do so.
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