Health insurance exchanges established under President Barack Obama's signature law would be illegal under legislation proposed Wednesday by Republicans aiming to prevent state agencies from carrying out the mandates of the health overhaul.
Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet and Rep. Mark Pody of Lebanon held a news conference to announce the measure that seeks to prohibit any cooperation by the state or its agencies in implementing or administering the federal law.
"The federal government does not have constitutional authority to commandeer state and local governments to enforce or implement these federal health care mandates," Beavers said. "This legislation takes a very strong stand to resist this federal overreach of power."
Except for the part where both the legislative branch and judicial branch gave the executive branch this power.
The legislation would ban new health insurance exchanges established under the law. So far, more than 36,000 Tennesseans have signed up for coverage under the exchanges. More than 2 million people had enrolled through the end of the year, according to the most recent nationwide statistics.
Sponsors say they haven't talked to the governor's administration about the proposal or officials with TennCare, the state's Medicaid program that provides health care for 1.2 million Tennesseans.
"I'm sure they'll come to see us," Beavers said.
And what of the thousands of people who have insurance from the exchange? Well, that's somebody else's problem, apparently. Sure hope they don't get sick. It'll be illegal to use their insurance because, you know, black President.