Tag Archives: Bill Haslam

TN GOP Governor Announces Plan to Expand Obamacare

On Monday, Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam outlined his plan to expand Obamacare. According to The Tennessean, he has branded the plan Insure Tennessee and dressed it in states’ rights rhetoric, claiming that the plan, which he says qualifies for federal funding under the Affordable Care Act, is an alternative to expanding Medicaid. WATE-TV 6 quoted a press release by Haslam in which he said, “This plan leverages federal dollars to provide health care coverage to more Tennesseans, to give people a choice in their coverage, and to address the cost of health care, better health outcomes and personal responsibility.”

Haslam announced that he would push for the policy in a special legislative session after the 109th General Assembly takes over in January. Tennessee’s legislature features a strong Republican majority.

The Tennessean published an estimate by the Kaiser Family Foundation which predicts that Insure Tennessee could result in over 160,000 additional Tennesseans qualifying for federal funds under Obamacare. Conservative critics in the state have pointed out the fact that federal funds for the program decline in future years, meaning the cost of the expansion could begin to leak into the state budget. Tennessee already has a state-run healthcare program called TennCare, which has been plagued by administrative failures of late, as thousands of Tennesseans found themselves stuck in a back log of applications earlier this year.

Insure Tennessee would expand the Affordable Care Act to low-income Tennesseans through a program called the Healthy Incentives Plan, which would be serviced through TennCare. Haslam’s health care overhaul would also include a program called the Volunteer Plan which would grant a voucher that qualified participants could use to pay for healthcare plans offered by their employers. It is not yet clear whether Haslam’s program would subject Tennesseans to Obamacare’s individual mandate, as low-income individuals in the state can currently claim an exemption to the mandate due to the state’s non-participation in the health care law’s Medicaid expansion.

Tennessee’s Democratic legislators praised the plan, as did Republican senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. Said Corker in comments to The Tennessean, “I’m pleased our state was able to adopt a solution that will build off of the innovative ways we deliver quality health care.”

In Tennessee’s state-level politics, Haslam is widely viewed as an establishment figure within the GOP, along with Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell. Earlier this month, Republican Representative Rick Womick led an unsuccessful conservative challenge against Beth Harwell for speaker. Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey told The Tennessean last Thursday, “I think if the governor can truly revamp the way our Medicaid is run and TennCare is run, then I think he may be able to sell that to the legislature.”

BREAKING: Tennessee moves to sue Obama over amnesty

NASHVILLE, November 21, 2014– On Friday, in response to President Obama’s plan to take executive action on illegal immigration reform, two Tennessee legislators are filing a Joint Resolution requesting Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) file a lawsuit against the Obama Administration on behalf of the state.

“Article II of the United States Constitution is explicitly clear on the powers vested within the Executive Branch. President Obama lacks the authority to execute even the slightest change in policy. The Constitution delegates President Obama the power to make suggestions concerning policy and nothing more,” said State Representative Andy Holt (R- Dresden) Thursday night after President Obama delivered a prime-time speech announcing his plan of action. “Anything beyond making suggestions is an illegal usurpation of undelegated power, and we simply cannot allow it to go unchecked.”

The two legislators are citing the commandeering of state resources, which would be required to execute the President’s Executive Order, and the lack of enforcement of deportation statutes as warrant for legal recourse.

“President Obama’s moves are a dangerous and insidious display of blatant abuse of power. Tennesseans will not stand for it, and I am here to demand the integrity of our Constitution and our state is protected,” said State Senator Mae Beavers (R- Mt. Juliet). “As state legislators, we have a constitutional responsibility to ensure our state is not illegally commandeered by the federal government.”

Holt and Beavers cite 180 years of Supreme Court precedent protecting state governments from the federal commandeering of resources.

“Illegally assigning millions of illegal immigrants what equates to pseudo de jure citizenship will cost Tennessee incalculable tax-payer dollars,” said Beavers. “Not even Congress has the power to place this undue burden on Tennessee tax-payers, so it’s unclear why President Obama, acting alone, believes he has the authority to do so. Let me be clear– he doesn’t.”

“The United States Supreme Court has been very clear concerning the commandeering of state resources by means of federal legislation and initiatives through coercion,” said Holt. “For more than 180 years the Court has explicitly repudiated such acts of commandeering in Prigg v. Pennsylvania, New York v. United States, Printz v. United States, and most recently in NFIB v. Sebelius.”

Both legislators believe the need for reform exists, but that it must be delivered by legal means.

“Our immigration system is wrecked, and I doubt anyone denies that. However, we are a nation of laws, not men, and we must work together to resolve these issues while maintaining the integrity of our Republic,” said Holt.

Holt will draft and sponsor the House Resolution, and Beavers will carry it in the Senate. 

(PRESS RELEASE)

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & Twitter.

Tennessee conservatives say GOP Governor doesn’t support 2nd Amendment rights

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) pictured with President Obama
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) pictured with President Obama

NASHVILLE, January 29, 2014– The Tennessee Firearms Association today expressed disappointment in what they call “Governor Bill Haslam’s (R) continuing anti-Second Amendment rhetoric” regarding an upcoming guns-in-parks bill pending in the Tennessee legislature.

“The fact that Governor Haslam is aligning himself with liberal Democrats such as Nashville Mayor Karl Dean on this issue is troubling” said Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris. “But this should come as no surprise given Governor Haslam’s record of being against the rights of law abiding gun owners and more consistently siding with Mayor Bloomberg’s fights oppressing basic human rights.”

In 2009, Haslam supported a ban on handguns in city parks while serving as Mayor of Knoxville. He was also a member of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun coalition, curiously misnamed Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Haslam only withdrew from public support of Mayor Bloomberg’s attack on the 2nd Amendment just prior to announcing his run for the office of governor in Tennessee, which was about the same time that he suddenly became an NRA member.

When he ran for Governor, Haslam promised the Tennessee Firearms Association’s members in an open, video taped meeting that he was very supportive of the Second Amendment.  He further announced at that video taped meeting that he would even sign a “constitutional carry” law into effect if he became governor.  Looking back, however, Haslam has not asked that a constitutional carry bill be passed nor has he generally been viewed as being even remotely supportive of Second Amendment initiatives.

Senate Bill 1496, (SB1496) which comes up for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, would restore Second Amendment protections to permit holders in all city and county parks, including all local greenways, in Tennessee. The result would be that handgun permit holders would be able to carry without fear of criminal prosecution in all federal, state and local parks in Tennessee.

However, Haslam has made recent comments concerning the bill showing his opposition to removing the local government infringements of the Second Amendment in city and county parks for individuals who can legally carry firearms.

(Tennessee Firearms Press Release)

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi