Lone Voice in the Legislative Wilderness Speaks Out



State Sen. Andy Berke last week was the only "no" vote when that body passed

its most recent right-wing do-nothing piece of legislation--the Tennessee Health Freedom Act. Lawmakers in several states with too much time on their hands and too little gray matter in their heads are wasting legislative time with bills like this one, a dubiously constitutional effort to allow the state to opt out of federal healthcare reform that includes an insurance mandate.

In a compelling op-ed in the Memphis Commercial Appeal Berke defends his vote, decrying the bill as the latest example of "grandstanding and political gimmicks" that "won't change what is happening at the federal level, nor will it stop anything from occurring if a health care bill passes."

"We face an increasingly important choice: Are we going to cater to the margins, invoke political stunts and try to appeal to those who yell loudest by passing do-nothing bills? Or are we going to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work, by engaging in a discussion together about how we help...middle-class families across Shelby County and the rest of Tennessee?....We lawmakers should be asking ourselves whether we are making access to quality and affordable health care easier for individuals with pre-existing conditions, not whether we have made a political statement against Washington."

Hear, hear.

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