It's Easier to Carry a Pistol in Tennessee Than Help Someone Sign Up for Health Insurance

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Obamacare's insurance exchanges are open for business today, even if the federal government isn't. But in Tennessee — at least for now — it's easier to become licensed to carry a handgun than it is to help poor people sign up for health care coverage.

Tennessee recently adopted an emergency rule declaring that anyone who could be described as an “enrollment assister” must undergo a criminal background check, fingerprinting, and twelve hours of course work. The hurdles would hamper hospital financial counsellors in the state — and, by some interpretations, ordinary good Samaritans — from simply helping someone get insurance.

An eight-hour safety class is required to obtain a handgun carry permit. So at least four hours before Obamacare's counselors can finish jumping through the hoops required to help people become insured, any yahoo can waltz around with a pistol in his pocket in this state.

A judge wouldn't block these "emergency" state rules for the Affordable Care Act yesterday but scheduled another hearing on a lawsuit to throw them out. Gov. Bill Haslam, meanwhile, is insisting all the red tape isn't aimed at strangling Obamacare.

“It’s certainly not intended to be a stumbling block,” Haslam said, batting his eyes innocently after cutting a ribbon in Nashville.

h/t Southern Beale

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