NASHVILLE - State senators passed legislation today that proponents say would let Tennesseans opt out of the federal health care law.
The Health Freedom Act, sponsored by Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, was approved on a largely party line vote of 21-10 after heated debate. The bill has not started moving in the House yet.
Beavers argued that the measure was needed to protect Tennesseans from an overreaching federal government because a provision in the law would fine people who refuse to obtain health care coverage.
She said it "gives Tennesseans a choice."
Democrats, however, Republicans were grandstanding with the bill. They offered amendments that expressed support for popular provisions in the law such as doing away with insurance companies' ability to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and impose lifetime limits on reimbursements.
Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, read an e-mail from his legislative intern, who has a series of medical problems, including Crohn's disease, which attacks the body's gastrointestinal tract. She said she must take expensive medications now and would be helped by the legislation.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.