Support For New Health Care Proposal Is Muted Among Some Tennessee GOP Congressmen

Mar 7, 2017

Some in Tennessee's congressional delegation are reserving full judgment about the new health care plan proposed by House Republicans.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn spoke with reporters after she and Rep. Diane Black toured Fort Campbell on Tuesday. "There's things we like, things we don't like, things we're working through," Blackburn said. "We all need to stay at the table and fix this."

When pressed for more details, Blackburn noted that they would only talk about Fort Campbell. Black declined to comment. 

"I think we're going to talk about that another day," Black said.  

Black, the chairman of the House budget committee, did make a statement earlier saying that "no bill is perfect" but that the proposal includes "key conservative victories."

Sen. Bob Corker also indicated his initial support but said he was still reviewing the legislation and wants to see a cost analysis. "This seems to be an important step in the right direction,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lamar Alexander pointed to several aspects of the plan that he thought would be positive, such as providing consumers with more insurance options. 

Democrats' Response

Tennessee’s Congressional Democrats have — predictably — come out in opposition.

Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville criticized Republicans for conducting the entire process to replace Obamacare in secret and for providing no cost analysis of the plan.

Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen speculates many in Shelby County will see their healthcare costs rise by hundreds of dollars a year.

Meanwhile, the Nashville Post reports stocks of local healthcare companies dropped Tuesday. One policy analyst says the plan's Medicaid adjustments could lead to a rise in the number of uninsured patients at hospitals.

Update on March 8, 10:30 a.m.:

Rep. Scott DesJarlais tells WPLN he "is carefully reviewing the legislative language" and will make a full evaluation after he sees the Congressional Budget Office's score of the American Health Care Act.

Natasha Senjanovic contributed to this report.