House Adopts Health Freedom Act

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Rep. Susan Lynn
  • Rep. Susan Lynn
Grandstanding Republicans have rammed their so-called Health Freedom Act through the state House. That’s the bill that purports to let Tennesseans ignore national health care reform’s insurance mandate. The vote was 53-32. The Senate is voting this week on the companion bill, and it'll pass easily.

During a long debate, Democrats pointed out that Rep. Susan Lynn’s legislation will accomplish nothing because of that annoying U.S. Constitution and its Supremacy Clause, which holds that federal laws supersede those of the states.

House Minority leader Gary Odom, in arguing against the measure, acknowledged some Democrats would refuse to vote no for fear of repercussions in November’s elections.

“You don’t have to vote at all,” Odom said. “I urge you to vote no or I urge you to leave the room or to sit on your hands. Let’s don’t give credibility to something like this.”

The House tabled two Democratic amendments—one by Rep. Henry Fincher supposedly would have nullified the federal income tax as well as health care reform and the other by Rep. Ulysses Jones would have required Tennessee to reject all federal health dollars. Both were offered merely to make the point that Lynn’s measure is stupid. Fifty-one representatives voted down Fincher's in a resounding show of support for the income tax. Talk about bizarro world!

"I thought you people were serious" about getting the federal government out of our lives, Jones said when his amendment was tabled.

Lynn, who is running for the Senate, insisted her Health Freedom Act would give Tennesseans the right to disobey the federal law. “I want people to be able to choose or not to choose to participate,” she said. “I want people to have that right.”

But Rep. Gerald McCormick R-Chattanooga, acknowledged “it’s a protest vote.”

“I don’t think we’re going to pass this bill and overturn the federal health care law. But our constituents send us here to make their voices heard,” he said, adding health care reform was “crammed down our throats from Washington.”

House GOP caucus chairman Glen Casada prompted loud guffaws in the House when he said, "I don't know anything about pols. I don't know anything about posturing. ... Here's what I know. Tennesseans don't want a government mandated decree from Washington, D.C. ... Let's stand up to the federal government. Let's stop the federal intrusion into our health care."

Update: Rep. Stacey Campfield reacts. "Today in Tennessee we passed the health care freedom act. Keeping powers of health care at the individual level and away from the federal plan. Today in 1861 Tennessee seceded from the union. Coincidence?"

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