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Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, said he had found “the Achilles’ heel of Obamacare” with his bill (HB476) and, once Tennessee approves it, other states are likely to follow and doom the federal health care program.
“With this bill, I bring you the opportunity for your children and grandchildren and my children and grandchildren to save billions and billions of dollars of money being borrowed against them by the federal government,” Dennis said.
The “Achilles’ heel,” he said, is that the federal law still allows states to control insurance companies. Thus, by declaring a state’s insurance companies cannot use the health care exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act, the law can be negated, he said.
Tony Greer, general counsel for the department, said the bill is “trying to nullify the (health care) exchange provision of the ACA.”
He also disagreed with Dennis’ “Achilles’ heel” proposition. The ACA does have a provision saying that it will pre-empt any state law that is in conflict, he said, and Dennis’ bill would likely be deemed in conflict since it tries to keep the federal law from working in Tennessee.
The upshot, Greer said, could be the federal health exchange authorizing companies not licensed in Tennessee to sell federally subsidized insurance within the state while companies with a Tennessee license could not. He said some Tennessee-based companies could choose to “become unlicensed companies” so they would be able to sell the subsidized policies.