Protest against Insure TN planned at legislature

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Opponents of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans are planning to protest at the legislative office complex on Tuesday.

Tea party groups, the Tennessee Firearms Association and the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity are urging their members to arrive early enough to clear security and gain seats in legislative committee rooms.

Haslam insists his Insure Tennessee proposal is different than straight Medicaid expansion because it would offer vouchers to buy private insurance and require co-pays for services. But opponents note that the program is funded through federal dollars available under President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Haslam introduced his plan to a joint session of the General Assembly on Monday evening, and legislative committees are scheduled to hold their first hearings Tuesday.