Sounds like Rusty Crowe is fully in support of Insure Tennessee:
One of them, state Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, said he was perfectly fine with the public knowing of his health care coverage. Crowe, who helped defeat Insure Tennessee during a special session in February, only to play a crucial role in trying to revive it a month later, said he is now convinced the plan is a good thing for Tennessee.
That’s also the thinking of 64 percent of state residents polled on the subject by Vanderbilt University.
Crowe also told the crowd Wednesday that politics and ideology are the reasons many of his Republican brethren on Capitol Hill are willing to turn down nearly $2.8 billion in federal funds to help the low-income Tennesseans. Officials with Tennessee Health Care Campaign and the Tennessee Justice Center, two groups that helped to organize the Town Hall meeting, noted that Gov. Bill Haslam negotiated with the Obama administration to get a Medicaid waiver for Insure Tennessee.
Upon hearing hearing that two out of three Tennesseans favor the governor’s Insure Tennessee plan in a recent survey, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey turned to his spokesman and asked a question.
“Did you pull that out of the trash can yet?” he said, followed by a laugh.
Ramsey, arguably the most powerful Republican in state government, said he gives little credence to poll results released Wednesday by Vanderbilt University showing that people favor the governor’s embattled plan nearly by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, want an expansion of health care coverage and want the full legislature to vote on it. Vanderbilt is "notoriously wrong in their polling," Ramsey told reporters.
“All I know is I want to try to create the best policy for the state of Tennessee and I’m not going to do it literally based on polling. And I do think there’s all kinds of problems with the basic structure of Obamacare,” said Ramsey, who once straddled the line for support of the governor’s plan before the measure barreled toward two rejections in Senate committees this year.
“I think what we need is to wait until 2016, and I mean this, and we’ll have a Republican-elected president, I hope, and give us a block grant and let us design this to where we aren’t just addressing the 100 percent poverty, the 133 [percent],” he said after a meeting of the State Building Commission Wednesday. “We’re addressing everybody. Everybody should have to pay co-payments, everybody should have to pay deductibles, not just that little group right there and I don’t want to have my hands tied when that time comes. I just think that’s bad policy.”
Insure Tennessee is the governor’s state-specific proposal to expand Medicaid in order to close a coverage gap of people who make less 138 percent of the federal poverty level but don’t currently qualify for TennCare.
In addition to the 64 percent of people surveyed who said they support Insure Tennessee, 78 percent of respondents said the full legislature should vote on the measure. It failed twice this year in legislative committees.
“That wouldn’t have mattered… There was no way it had 17 votes, period,” said Ramsey about the votes needed in the Senate, adding that anyone who was eager to vote on the proposal did in committee.
House Speaker Beth Harwell, who also sits on the State Building Commission, took a phone call after the meeting and did not take questions from media. She was unavailable later in the afternoon, according to her staff.
A partisan divide:
The Tennessee House Democratic Caucus supports today’s release of health insurance premium records to the Nashville Tennessean newspaper and request all insurance premium information be opened up to the media and the public. Several media outlets had requested the information after the defeat of Insure Tennessee. Insure Tennessee would have provided quality, affordable healthcare to 280,000 poor and working poor Tennesseans at no additional costs to taxpayers.
Several Republican lawmakers publicly condemned the premium information release, claiming it violated their privacy. However, today the state turned over all of the information on premiums paid for lawmakers to the media. Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart said “It is the ultimate in hypocrisy.”
Stewart added, “To refuse to provide for the working poor of Tennessee, while trying to keep the insurance benefits they receive a secret illustrates their contempt for Tennesseans.” Insure Tennessee was proposed by Governor Haslam in a special legislative session in February. However, it was killed in committee by Republican lawmakers without ever going to the floor of either chamber for full discussion.
POSTDATA: WARRANTY DEEDS