Tea partiers protest procedure on state health care bill

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 11:59am

Tea party protesters jamming the halls of the legislature erupted into boos and jeers Wednesday as lawmakers delayed voting on the so-called Health Freedom Act — the vehicle through which Tennessee conservatives are expressing their outrage over the national health insurance overhaul.

As the crowd shouted angrily in the hallway, members of the House Industrial Impact subcommittee tried to explain that the delay was merely pro forma and not a sign of opposition to the legislation.

“The audience I’m sure don’t understand this,” said the subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta. “Historically in this committee, because we deal with so much insurance regulation, when we amend a bill of any significance, we roll it for one week. It’s just a formality. We’re going to roll this bill. It’ll lay over one week, and then we’re going to be voting on it next week.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Bell, R-Riceville — who proposed the minor amendment that caused the delay — also tried to calm the protesters: “I’m the sponsor. I absolutely support this bill. That’s why I’m here, but this is the common practice of this committee.”

Outside, Knoxville tea party organizer Antonio Hinton shouted at the red-white-and-blue clad Eagle Forum president Bobbie Patray, who was trying to play the role of peacemaker.

“I’m upset,” Hinton yelled. “When it comes time to raise taxes, they don’t waste time with that. That goes through pretty quickly. I guarantee they’re not going to vote on this.”

Just before the meeting, Senate Republicans held a news conference to urge House passage of the bill. The Senate adopted the legislation last month by a 26-1 vote. Of questionable constitutionality, it would allow any Tennessean to refuse to obey the new federal mandate to buy health insurance and compel the state attorney general to defend that person in court if necessary.

“We’re telling the federal government that we aren’t going to make our citizens buy health insurance,” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said. 

“Never in history has the federal government mandated that Tennesseans buy anything,” said the Senate sponsor, Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet. “This is kind of equivalent to the federal government saying you have to buy a General Motors car because we bailed ‘em out and we have an interest in it. The people of Tennessee don’t want the federal health care, and this will be the way for them to choose other avenues.”

25 Comments on this post:

By: Floyd2 on 3/24/10 at 10:16

At most, there were about 50 teabaggers present. Why does this report make it sound like there were a lot of people.

Senator Beavers, I am a person of Tennessee. I support the health care reform bill that became law yesterday. Please refrain from speaking for me and millions of other Tennesseans.

Futhermore, will Sens. Beavers and Ramsey please explain why they believe in keeping open the Medicare donut hole. Why do they support the health care rationing of the old system, in which insurance companies denied coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, ended coverage for enrollees that got sick, and limited coverage for all of us with annual and lifetime caps?

By: binkleym on 3/24/10 at 10:24

“Never in history has the federal government mandated that Tennesseans buy anything,” said the Senate sponsor, Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet.

Of course they have. They have "mandated" that every child receive an education. You can use the "public option", private school, or home school. But you don't have the right to *not* educate your child. Uneducated children grow up to be uneducated adults and impose a burden on our society. Society has every right to prevent that.

Uninsured people (whether by choice or by circumstance) impose a similar burden on our society. The Democrats could have impose a true socialist single-payer health care system. Instead, they propose a relatively free-market system that simply requires everyone to have private insurance, but subsidizes the poor who cannot afford it. In this, the program is broadly similar in design to school voucher programs, which Republicans usually love.

So you don't want mandated insurance, you want to just save the cash and pay for yourself? Unless you have a million dollars saved, you can't cover yourself completely, you're just deluding yourself. There is a small but finite probability that you could have a serious accident, require a heart transplant, etc, and incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, and you can't pay for those with just a few thousand in the bank. But put $20k in a HSA and purchase catastrophic health insurance (which is relatively cheap), and you're covered. And society is covered.

As a believer in Republican principles, I cannot believe the madness that has overtaken my party. Yes, HSA and high-deductible policies are better than the Democrat's plan. But the Republicans were too busy trying to take Obama down to do anything that might actually help the American public. Between the Democrats plan, the Republicans lack of plan, or the status quo, I support the Democrats. Hopefully, some sane Republicans will start trying to patch the holes in the plan instead of trying to drag us back to the status quo.

By: pswindle on 3/24/10 at 10:31

It is time for the democrats to stand up. I do not want the republicans to say, "We in TN are against the new healthcare law." I can speak for myself and I thought that I had good insurance until I was denied coverage for something that my doctor ordered. I'm sure that democrats are not the only ones denied coverage, but republicans , too. The bottom line is that the republicans cannot stand to have a democrat in the WH.

By: dogmrb on 3/24/10 at 10:41

Mae Beavers is not smart enough to make laws. And, yes, I do want health care reform.

By: YnnekC on 3/24/10 at 10:49

I seen this on Channel 5 this morning talking about the protesters camping out against Health Care reform. I thought wow a group of repub's camping out against something and then the unveiling of a grand total of 2 yep 2 that was some big news! BAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

By: shinestx on 3/24/10 at 10:53

The previous comments are the same stale, scripted defenses of an absolutely abhorrent process of passing law, and an unpopular law at that. The public is furious with the Dem-wits' power grab and their focus of 14 months on things other than the economy. Yes, elections have consequences, and now we see how divided the people are --- more than ever before. The garbage that is mandated (as John Dingell D-MI says "to control the people") is immediately unpopular despite Gallup numbers (Gallup always skews to a majority Democrat, sample, regardless of likelihood of voting). Other polls (CNN, Rasmussen,et.al.) show this thing persistently unpopular and cause for concern among independents, who have abandoned B.O. in droves.

We'll soon see how popular this partisan piece of trash is... despite the propaganda of the corrupt legacy media. You see, folks! The truth is now out there for all to see.

The GOP is right now working on their upcoming defeat of the Dem-wits. It will be focused on the disgraceful process of this Dem-wit Congress and the corruption of the kickbacks, carve-outs, and deferred taxes for special interests. No denying the fact that Dem-wits own this one! And beginning today, it will defeat them.

Oh and for anyone compelled to respond, just make sure you can defend this law on the points. No doubt, most of you (as always) will pull out the invective, and other hateful things. But I have not yeard a single "progressive" Dem-wit yet explain how this disaster will control costs. Yes, it will control the people, but it will not control costs.

An informed public is the enemy of tyrants.

By: binkleym on 3/24/10 at 11:05

Shinestx, that was a truly impressive amount of wharrgarbl. As I stated earlier, I'm a Republican and I *support* this bill. No it isn't perfect, but it's 80% of a good bill. I'm not going to oppose it simply because I don't like that last 20%. I'm going to vote yes, and then start working on legislation to fix the 20% that's bad.

The Republican party has inflamed this public furor over what is essentially a conservative health care plan, simply as a part of their "scorched-earth" strategy against Obama. They've painted themselves into a corner by opposing a decent common-sense health care plan, and it's going to come back to haunt them.

By: shinestx on 3/24/10 at 11:32

You may be "Republican" but you are not conservative. Just by your comments, that is evident. Thanks for reading my post, btw.

Please give more details on your assertions... I'll help you by asking what the 80% you like is... and what's the 20% you want to change? Have you read the whole law? Do you defend the process? Seems to me that the "scorched-earth" strategy came from the leftists running Congress. You see, I read your comments, and they're exactly the defense coming out of the White House in defense of the disgraceful process that rammed a healthcare bill through Congress, despite the will of the majority. No, the charge that "We, the People" don't understand the law is absolutely specious. Absolutely false, in fact. This is not a matter of the media now having to go out and spin "a new law" that the people do not understand. Even if "we" liked the law (or even 80% as you do)... of course, we don't per CNN, Rasmussen, Pew, NBC/WSJ, et.al.... the fact remains that the way it was passed is abhorrent and contrary to how a majority of Americans think their government should work. Nearly 80% of Americans believe the nation's economy will collapse!!! When has that number ever been as high? Never even close. You see, you and other liberals may think that this bill is great because it gives so many people "free stuff"... but the sad fact is that it will be the final straw of a government out of control.

The same fanatical "progressive" crowd can be counted on to respond to every article from the NCP and other publications in hateful, and unsubstantiated ways. Their reaction to anything "Tea Party" is predictable and darkly comedic. But the thing these people do not realize is that the Tea Party movement arose as a response to real fear... fear of where this country is headed. As a "Tea Party Hick" or a "Tea Bagger" or a "Tee Pee" or whatever you want to call me, I am an economist with a PhD who is also fearful of the direction we're headed. Oh yes, we're used to being called racists, bigots, hate-mongers, and other things. But that does not attenuate our love for the freedom we see slippiing away from each and every one of us. GOP? They screwed us. Dem-wits? They're just showing us who they have always been (manipulators). Tea Party? At least this is the latest and most powerful (to-date) response to the attacks on civil liberties. I challenge anyone to prove that this amorphous movement is completely Republican, or white, or rich etc.. You see, you and your liberal brethren will also pay through the nose ultimately for this boondoggle which will not control healthcare costs. It doesn't even provide access (for those who say healthcare is a right must defend the heart bypass or transplant for the 98 year old smoker just as you would the 22-year old diabetic).

This is what we see for the future, and it will affect you as much as anyone else. Read it and weep: http://www.cnbc.com/id/36013573. Even if you just take a peek into the future and see how unchecked healthcare will ultimately destroy our economy (as a former Republican, you might even see the sense in self-rationing through personal cost-sharing), you can see what has happened with Medicare (what makes you think that B.O. care will be any different?).

Lots of American leftists (some are people with whom I work) have full faith in a bigger state, and some even foolishly think that government is the source of compassion. All despite evidence to the contrary.

Anyway, you still didn't respond to my challenge to debate on the points. If you're capable, I'll respond. Otherwise, enjoy your new party.

By: binkleym on 3/24/10 at 11:51

I state some of my conservative credentials: 1. I am vehemently pro-life (which is one reason I support health care reform), 2. I favor privatizing Social Security, 3. I believe strongly in the 2nd amendment. I'm a Republican. I simply don't believe everything the Republican party tells me to believe. *ALL* politicians are full of it. It's just the Republicans this time, but they are being obstructionist on a matter of profound importance to our nation.

The 20% of the bill I dislike are the fund for abortion (which Obama has temporarily blocked and I hope the Republicans put continued pressure on) and that it doesn't require a HSA/HDHC, which I strongly favor as a method of cost control. The whole area of cost control is lacking in the bill. I wish the Republicans had cooperated here, we would have ended up with a much stronger bill.

The 80% of the bill I like is the part that eliminates yearly and lifetime caps on payments, insurers can't drop or forbid pre-existing conditions. The exchanges allow individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance on the same terms as big business. It levels the playing field for a lot of people. Small businesses create jobs. Large businesses just ship them to China. So I see this as a strong benefit for our nation.

And your Ph.D. in economics doesn't impress me in the least. I've got a MBA from Vandy, dissertation shy of a Ph.D. in physics from WFU, IQ of 160, etc. I've got Krugman and Mankiw on my bookshelf (and 2-3 dozen other undergrad/grad texts). If you have to defend your ideas with letters, you've already failed. Ideas should stand or fall on their merits, not on the person who proposes them. Don't reply with anger, or wharrgarbl. Argue rational fact with rational fact, or go home.

Jesus was right. Both about the Good Samaritan, and about getting a camel through the eye of a needle...

By: shinestx on 3/24/10 at 12:02

I got you in the IQ department by 5. But then, that's probably why your MBA is from Vandy, and not from Stanford like mine (and PhD). Oh, and I wonder what Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson (and a host of other great thinkers in history) would have thought about your assertion that writing letters to defend ideas means you've failed (I disagree). When you start referring to the likes of Hayak and Milton Friedman, then I'll believe your conservative chops, and may even be willing to believe you've been educated thoroughly in economics.

Regarding your post (thanks for the reply btw), it says so much about your misunderstanding of freedom of choice (a'la Friedman), both as individuals and as corporations and its foundation for all our liberties. Let me just say your belief that the bill protects the rights of the unborn is nothing but naive. As the blind man said, "We'll see!"

Now that you've wasted nearly an hour of my day off, I'll have to leave you in the echo chamber. It's apparent that you have nothing to add to the debate.

By: binkleym on 3/24/10 at 12:30

Can you explain to the audience how people who have pre-existing conditions and *cannot get insurance* have choice? Looks to me like they have none. This bill gives them the same choice that you and I have.

And I can spout Milton Friedman as well as the next Libertarian. I have Free to Choose, Capitalism and Freedom, and A Monetary History of the United States at home, and I've read them cover to cover. I believe Friedman came out pretty strongly in favor of equality of opportunity. Don't you believe that *everyone* should have same opportunity to purchase decent health insurance as you or I do? Let me guess, you're going to spout the same selfish line I've heard before: I feel sorry for them, but it's not my problem. My response: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

I didn't say the health care bill protects the unborn. It protects the born. I'm pro-life, and that has to include people over the age of 9 months.

Again, you are not replying with rational arguments, you are simply trying to insult me and those reading. I trust that the readers are smart enough to differentiate ration from rudeness.

By: binkleym on 3/24/10 at 12:33

And by letters, I meant Ph.D, MBA, etc. Jesus never wrote a dissertation. Ghandi never took a qualifier exam. But their ideas changed the world. Can yours?

By: binkleym on 3/24/10 at 12:50

According to this post, your MBA/MPH are from Harvard. It takes quite an achiever to get a MBA from both Harvard and Stanford. Or maybe we're fibbing about our achievements just a smidge.

"As for myself, I was raised in Hendersonville and went to the public schools there and then graduated from Vandy. Then I went on to Harvard for my masters degrees (MBA and MPH)."


//quitting now...

By: idgaf on 3/25/10 at 5:01

Stop with the peeing contest you both look silly.

If nancy can vote on an almost 3,000 page bill in 72 hours our morons can vote on this sooner.

Don't they read the papers and listen to the news?

By: stlgtr55@yahoo.com on 3/25/10 at 8:21

I would just like to know if the Prez and Congress, and all the other Federal Beureaucrats, and their families are going to be on this same plan as the rest of us. Can someone please answer that?

By: chrislib on 3/25/10 at 8:42

America waits for republicons to show their compassionate, cancervative, christian family values and denounce the teagaggers' terist threats against Democrats who voted for HCR.

We're waiting...

(Sarah Palin loves America so much, she wants her state to secede from itl)

By: RealityRosie on 3/25/10 at 8:43


By: vechester on 3/25/10 at 8:53

Nope they have omitted themselves and their staffers from this legislation. Why? Because they don't want to be limited to a government health care system. They prefer private care. It just shows how open and honest they are...

I know, I know it's makes them look a bit suspicious, but hey let's give them a little leeway here. After all they know way better than us ignurunt citzuns and well they can take better care of us than we can. (Where's my coke and tater chips?)

And another thing, the term "tea bagger" is actually something that most of us conservatives really don't want to be referred to. There are many other slanderous terms you libs can use since you insist on name calling. I know, I know it helps because you have nothing of value to say on these posts. But just remember name calling is hate speech and, well in Canada you could be arrested for hate crimes!

All above sarcasms intended!

Now you libs can continue this post with blaming it all on "W":-)

By: TN4th on 3/25/10 at 9:01

Shinestx's arguments do not sound reasoned, nor do they ring true for a trained economist. They sound hysterical. I would like to see proof of his credentials. A lot of people falsify their academic credentials, and if one knew his real name, one could verify his claims.

As the country comes to understand the value in the healthcare bill, and get past all the lies and obstructionism, they are understanding that some basic protections are being put in place.

Ramsey does not represent me, nor anyone else I know when he spouts off about what "the people of Tennessee" want. I support this bill, and I have no more problem with mandating health insurance than I do with mandating car insurance. Does anyone realistically want to argue that it is unconstitutional to require auto insurance? The reasoning is the same ... those who do not insure create a burden on the rest of us.

The constitutional argument is silly, and the republican AGs who are filing the suit know it. They are just looking for political cover with their increasingly nutty and scary base.

By: pswindle on 3/25/10 at 9:06

If you like your insurance, you can keep it. But, do you know that anyone that goes in for medical help, and can't pay or have insurance, we that have insurance pick up the bill. You think that is fair? This new bill will make everyone pay something. Some may have to stop smoking to help pay for their insurance. That's a good idea.

By: Marymeet on 3/25/10 at 9:15

May I suggest to all that there is a movement to bring civility back to political discussionIf you want to go back to the 50's remember that Republicans and Democrats spoke to each other cordially and collegially. Please see http://cli.gs/AP7aS It seems to me everyone has their fingers in their ears and no one is listening to anyone who doesn't agree with them.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/25/10 at 10:37

i agree, Mary.

By: stlgtr55@yahoo.com on 3/25/10 at 12:58

While we're showing ID's and proof of credentials, let's start with Obama's birth certificate.

By: idgaf on 3/25/10 at 1:57

By: vechester on 3/25/10 at 9:53

And another thing, the term "tea bagger" is actually something that most of us conservatives really don't want to be referred to. There are many other slanderous terms you libs can use since you insist on name calling. I know, I know it helps because you have nothing of value to say on these posts.

It is their way to express their discust with homosexuals without coming out and saying it so not to alienate them and lose their votes. Ditto with them always using the "N" word trying to blame it on conservatives/pubs.

They use the usefull idiots as one of those commies said.

By: bassrhythms on 3/25/10 at 4:27

I have a question for people who are against some type of health reform...I had a kidney transplant 18 years ago and have absolutely no problems with it..Now I do have to take a lot of drugs..If I don't have some form of insurance,I will die from not being able to purchase my drugs which would run me well over
$2000.00 a month..How many people can afford that in the middle class..If I was wealthy or made enough money to afford my prescriptions I would not have a problem..I would be just like the "tea baggers"..Against everything that would help the common man..I have Blue Cross Blue Shield ins right now that will only pay for generic drugs..I have 3 drugs that I absolutely cannot take generic brands and guess what ,the insurance company said no way..I am in the process of changing insurance right now but I have to fill out a special form because I have a pre existing condition..This will probably cost me about $800.00 per month..just for the insurance..I guess that is better than paying $2000.00 a month for my prescriptions..Some of you people put yourself in my position and see how it would feel if you had to wonder if you are going to be able to afford your prescriptions or insurance along with other living expenses every month..I don't want anyone to give me anything.I just want an equal chance.