December 06, 2012
Inside this issue
  We got the job done and 61% of Tennesseans agree  
  In a media release on June 28, 2012, Governor Haslam stated:

"My primary issues with ObamaCare are that it takes away the flexibility for states to encourage healthy behavior, will cost Tennessee hundreds of millions of dollars, and does nothing to solve the crisis of the cost of health care in America."

I could not agree more which is why we should JUST SAY NO!

Addressing the Rally

Republican Caucus Chairman Senator Bill Ketron

Rep. Joe Carr

A great and enthusiastic crowd!!

Ken Marerro was our excellent M.C. Other speakers included Ralph Bristol [WTN], Lee Beaman, Steve Gill [WLAC],Carl Boyd Jr [WTN], Dr. Lee Douglas, Ralph Weber, and James Arthur with Knoxville Tea Party.
[To hear the speeches by Ralph Bristol, Sen. Ketron and Rep. Carr, click on Ralph's name and look under "Show Audio"]

Other legislators attending--we certainly appreciate their support:
Rep. Judd Matheny, Rep. Rick Womick, Sen. Mae Beavers, Rep. Mike Sparks, Rep. Courtney Rogers, Sen. Stacey Campfield, Rep. Jeremy Durham, Rep. Tillman Goins (hope I haven't left anyone out).



  Tea Party rallies against health insurance exchange  
  NASHVILLE, Tenn. - "Just Say No" was the loud and clear message sent to Governor Bill Haslam Wednesday by more than 200 people protesting the state's involvement in running a mandated health insurance exchange.

Tennessee is one of 10 states who face a December 14 deadline to decide if they will run it, or let the federal government do it as part of President Barack Obama's health care law passed in 2010.

Tennessee Tea Party members organized the rally which included short speeches from a variety of local conservative radio talk show hosts, a few state lawmakers, Tennessee Eagle Forum President Bobbie Patray and local businessman Lee Beaman.

Several members of the crowd carried signs that said things such as, "We Will Not Comply," and "Stop Exchanges."  Read more here.


  Tea Party Rally Urges Undecided Haslam to Oppose TN Health Care Exchange  

Joined by several Republican legislators, about 300 tea party activists rallied at the state capitol Wednesday in hopes of prodding an undecided Gov. Bill Haslam into opposing the creation of a Tennessee Health Care Exchange.

Haslam, who faces a Dec. 14 deadline for notifying the federal government of the state's intentions, said he is listening to all sides but remains uncertain. Initially, Haslam said he was initially inclined to opt for a state-run exchange, but his misgivings have grown.

If they state does not create an exchange, which would serve basically as a clearinghouse between citizens and insurance companies, the federal government would instead operate an exchange in Tennessee. Nationwide, 22 governors have decided against running their own exchange.

At the rally, there was some criticism of Haslam for his indecisiveness from both speakers and signs waved by participants sign-wavers. One sign said, "Fire Haslam."

"If Bill Haslam cannot say no, then it's time we get another governor," said Carl Boyd Jr., who hosts a Nashville radio talk show and was one of several speakers.

Legislators attending the event, including Knoxville's Sen. Stacey Campfield, said they believe a majority of the Republican-controlled General Assembly would reverse Haslam if he decides in favor of creating a state-operated health care exchange.

Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Ketron, said that, as he understand the federal law, the governor's initial decision would have to be ratified by the General Assembly and "very few" Republicans would support a state health care exchange.

"We have six new (Republican) senators who had (campaign) mail pieces where the first bullet point was a promise not to support Obamacare," said Ketron. "I don't see them changing their minds."

Campfield said that support for a state health care exchange would be seen as "tacit approval" of Obamacare by federal officials while rejection would send a clear message of opposition.
"No. 1, it's not constitutional. No. 2, it's bad policy," he said.  Read more here.



  Tea party activists rally in Nashville against federal health care law  

Rally takes direct aim at exchange plans

The federal health care reform law appears to be on its way to becoming a reality, but tea party activists have a message: Just say no.

About 250 activists from across the state turned out Wednesday for a rally at War Memorial Plaza to oppose plans to create a state-run health insurance exchange, a key part of the health care reform.

Gov. Bill Haslam has not yet decided whether to create a Tennessee version of the online insurance marketplace or leave the task to the federal government.

But tea party activists, many of whom have ardently opposed the law since it was proposed more than three years ago, said the decision ought to be simple.

“This should be an absolute no-brainer,” said Rusty Welch, a Republican activist from Cookeville. “It’s not just a technical problem on a state exchange. It’s a philosophical problem.”

Opponents of the exchange rallied for about two hours on the plaza across the street from the state Capitol. The usual trappings of a tea party rally were visible — tricorn hats, signs calling President Barack Obama a socialist, T-shirts emblazoned with selections from the U.S. Constitution — but the number of attendees was far lower than similar rallies held before the Affordable Care Act’s passage in 2010.

“The people who understand what is going on are here,” said Ken Marrero, one of the event’s organizers.

The Affordable Care Act calls for setting up websites called exchanges where people without insurance can shop for coverage by comparing plans that meet government standards. Low-income shoppers also can receive subsidies for insurance through the exchanges. Proponents say that even people who already have health insurance can use the exchanges to compare their plans with others.

Haslam has said a state-run exchange may offer a chance to customize plans for Tennesseans and add aspects such as wellness incentives that could lower costs. But he has also complained that the federal government has left too many questions about how exchanges would operate.

Concerns raised

Tennessee is one of 10 states yet to declare whether they will set up their own exchanges. Haslam has until Dec. 14 to decide whether to set up a state-operated exchange or leave its creation to the federal government. At the rally, opponents raised several objections to the exchanges. They claimed the exchanges will give the government an opportunity to collect more data on individuals, cut consumer choice and ultimately bind states to the Affordable Care Act.

Several speakers said Tennessee would be better served by leaving the exchanges’ creation to the federal government.  Read more here.



  Just say 'no,' Gov. Haslam  

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam claims that he is still undecided on whether to set up a health-insurance “exchange” under Obamacare. His decision will come soon — the federal government has given Haslam until Dec. 14 to decide.

If Haslam needs advice on which way to turn all he needs to do is look out the window of his office in the Tennessee Capitol at noon today. Across the street at Legislative Plaza, hundreds of informed and concerned Tennesseans are expected to gather in opposition to a state exchange.

At the rally, doctors, small business owners, state lawmakers, radio hosts, preachers, community leaders, students, retirees, members of groups such as the Chattanooga Tea Party and Tennessee Tax Revolt, and Tennesseans of every color, creed, background and political party will join in unison to beg Gov. Haslam not to force a federally controlled state exchange on Tennesseans.

There are plenty of good reasons why so many Tennesseans are against the idea of the exchanges, which are essentially online stores where government-mandated health plans are forced on small businesses and the uninsured — driving many health insurance carriers out of business along the way.

For starters, state exchanges aren’t actually state-managed. The Goldwater Institute, a free market think tank based in Phoenix, points out that the federal government will be “in complete control of the exchange — from who can participate to what plans they can offer and prices they can charge.” The only role the state would play is funding the expensive scheme, which is estimated to cost Tennesseans upward of $50 million annually.

Many state leaders understand that the notion that the exchanges localize decision making and empower states is laughable. Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga — one of many state lawmakers against a state exchange — recently stated “[we’d prefer] to throw it back to the federal government to have them clean up their own mess.” Ben Cunningham, the founder of the Nashville Tea Party, accurately calls state exchanges “part of the effort to turn state government into a branch office of the federal government.”

State exchanges empower the federal government to levy outrageous fines on small businesses. Under a state-funded exchange, businesses of 50 employees or more will be fined at least $2,000 per employee if they fail to offer comprehensive health insurance, according to the Goldwater Institute. Businesses in states rejecting the exchanges won’t be subject to federal fines.

Further, state exchanges allow millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded handouts to the government’s preferred insurance companies. Sensitive personal medical information will also be shared with the government under an exchange.  Read more here.



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Poll results: Let the feds set up Nashville's health exchange
Date: Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 2:08pm CST

Tennessee is one of 10 states that have yet to declare whether they will set up a new state-run health insurance exchange as part of Obamacare or if they'll allow the federal government to create and run the program.

While Gov. Bill Haslam is still mulling his options — he has until Dec. 14 to announce his intentions — readers made their preference clear in a recent Nashville Business Journal online poll.

Of 675 responses in the unscientific poll, 61 percent voted for "Let the feds do it. Tennessee didn't ask for this."

Nineteen percent said Haslam should opt for a state-run exchange, "because it's good policy," while 18 percent said a state-run exchange is "the lesser of two evils," as Haslam himself has said.  Source here.

LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW: State-run health exchange blasted
SMYRNA — Rutherford County’s legislative delegation opposes creation of a state-run health insurance exchange and wants to put the onus on the federal government next year for overseeing the Affordable Care Act.

State lawmakers said Tuesday at a Chamber of Commerce legislative preview luncheon at the Town Centre that Gov. Bill Haslam should refuse to set up a state bureaucracy to run the program. Haslam faces a Dec. 14 deadline to decide whether to adopt a Tennessee exchange.

“I just feel like government-run health care is going to bankrupt us, and it’s going to destroy the quality of health care,” state Sen. Jim Tracy said.

The Shelbyville Republican, who represents a portion of Rutherford County, noted that the federal government is promising funds to states for the first two to three years of the program, set for 2014, but that federal funds would then be pulled away.

State Sen. Bill Ketron pointed out that the initial cost was expected to be $150 million, and that number grew to $500 million and then $700 million.

“I think if the governor signs this, in January when it comes to the General Assembly to be ratified, it won’t be ratified in either house,” said Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, chairman of the Senate Majority Caucus.

Tennessee received an extension for the governor to make a decision on the matter, and he is expected to decide within a week. Read more here.
Tea Party Rally Puts Haslam in Hot Seat
Hundreds of Tea Party protesters rallied outside the state capitol Wednesday. One held a sign reading “Haslam-care.” They’re trying to dissuade Tennessee’s governor from setting up a state-based insurance exchange as envisioned in Obamacare.

Tracy Sneed of Nashville says Governor Bill Haslam should join nearly two-dozen other Republican governors and do what he can to obstruct Obamacare. Her future support hinges on his decision.

“If you’re asking me if it’s a deal breaker, yes it is.”

Amid the throngs were roughly a dozen GOP lawmakers.

Republican State Senator Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro says while he generally prefers state control, Washington should handle the exchanges, which determine what insurance policies to offer through a government-run website.  Read more here.