Health care reform opposition bill dies in council

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 10:14pm

With some Metro Council members calling the proposal “inappropriate,” the council Tuesday night rejected a memorializing resolution that would have expressed support for the Tennessee Healthcare Freedom Act.

The state bill, which has already cleared the state Senate, is effectively an attempt by state Republican lawmakers to nullify President Obama’s recently passed health care law.

The non-binding resolution in the council was put forward by Councilman Jim Gotto, who insisted council members owed it to their constituents to weigh in on the state legislation.

The measure failed last night by a 9-23 margin, with several skeptics wondering whether the issue belonged in the council chambers in the first place. Its failure set off a collective cheer.

Councilman Randy Foster, a self-described conservative who opposed many of Obama’s health care initiatives, said ultimately the issue is one that should be settled by the Tennessee General Assembly. He abstained from voting last night.

“I have my own views ... but at some point, I think it’s important for us to consider what our role is,” Foster told his fellow council members. “For my part, I’m just tired of us straying outside the realm of our responsibility.”

Echoing those thoughts, Councilman Greg Adkins said, “This is the wrong venue to bring up these type of resolutions,” calling the council an “inappropriate” place for such matters.

The council has “absolutely no authority” in federal or state matters, Adkins said.

Councilwoman Kristine LaLonde, meanwhile, suggested political points may have been at play with the filing of the memorializing resolution.

“[Leaders who have filed lawsuits against the health care law] are using their elected offices to perpetuate a distortion of reality to further their own political careers,” LaLonde said. “I’m urging my colleagues to not use our political office in the same way.”

Gotto is running as a Republican for the state House's District 60 seat, which is currently held by conservative-leaning Democrat Ben West Jr., who isn’t seeking another term.

Council members who voted for the memorializing resolution were Karen Bennett, Carl Burch, Phil Claiborne, Michael Craddock, Eric Crafton, Duane Dominy, Robert Duvall, Gotto and Jim Hodge.

5 Comments on this post:

By: localboy on 4/21/10 at 7:56

now that they're over their hissy fit, maybe they can try to concentrate on local issues - Councilman Foster has it right...

By: caholt on 4/21/10 at 8:25

This resolution was a total waste of time from the very beginning and IMHO more about political posturing. Unfortunately, our state legislators don't have enough sense to move on and work on real state matters instead of playing more political games for brownie points with the tea baggers. Shame on them for wasteing their time and our money.

By: pswindle on 4/21/10 at 8:52

The GOP and Tea Party members have done a great job in muddying the water on the truth of the health bill. This bill was badly needed. The insurance companies had total control over our health needs., and they could refuse any type of treatment. We needed to get the insurance companies out of our treatments, and let the doctors do what they know best.

By: Alphadog7 on 4/21/10 at 12:53

Obama's health care bill thwarts competition, forces people to buy something, does nothing for tort reform, and is replete with loopholes that were just not well thought through. Glad some in the council forced a show of hands on who sees that and who doesn't. Posturing? A little but, but more just a show of hands. Those who said that is not the place for it were probably just uncomfortable with going on the record with their feelings. Its certainly not the first or last symbolic motion our (or any other) city council will entertain.

By: gofer on 4/21/10 at 6:44

Medicare denies more claims than any insurance company, percentage wise. Do people actually believe that they will get whatever they want with this bill?? At least with an insurance company, you had some recourse. You think you will have any recourse with the govt and especially with umpteen hundreds of other people in line for care?? Insurance companies are state regulated and their rates are governed as to what percent they spent on what. Insurance companies are some of the least profitable businesses. People will pay MORE for insurance as admitted by Obama at the health care summit. There were real reforms that could have been done but it wouldn't have given the govt. CONTROL, which was the whole point of the bill.

They have already started with their controlling by coming after salt and sugar. It needs to be killed and real reforms enacted, not 3000 pages of which no congressman or the president ever read. They are themselves being surprised by what's it it. Can you imagine what's buried in that mountain of regulations???