Health Care Compact Dies as Legislature Adjourns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that would allow Tennessee to join an interstate compact challenging the federal health care law has failed in the House.
The chamber voted 45-26 along partisan lines to approve the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark Pody of Lebanon. But that was five votes short of the majority needed to pass measures in the 99-member chamber.
The legislation would provide a waiver for each participating state to create its own health care system. Sponsors say the proposal is intended to give Tennesseans more choices concerning health care if the compact were approved by Congress.
The House had earlier approved a change to make Tennessee’s participation in the compact optional. That provision was taken out in the Senate.
Twenty-eight members were either absent or abstained on the vote.

Note: All 34 Democrats either voted against the bill or did not vote. Three Republicans formally abstained, three more were officially excused and absent and 12 did not vote.
A comment from Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, who sponsored the bill to passage in the Senate: “I’m disappointed that people played games down to the end.”
She said the games were played by Democrats with re-election campaigns in mind and “apparently it worked with some people.”

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