Tennessee's DesJarlais 'Leaning No' On GOP's Health Care Bill | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee's DesJarlais 'Leaning No' On GOP's Health Care Bill

Mar 23, 2017

Updated Friday at 8:00 a.m.:

Rep. David Kustoff of West Tennessee released a statement early Friday signaling his support after reserving judgment on Thursday, saying he wanted to see the final draft.

"Republicans have promised to repeal this disastrous law and provide relief to the American people. Later today, I will vote to do just that."

Reported Earlier:

Rep. Scott DesJarlais got an audience with the president on Thursday as part of the House Freedom Caucus. Within the GOP, the group has voiced some of the loudest opposition to the healthcare plan that could replace Obamacare.

DesJarlais' office says while the negotiations are still ongoing, his position hasn't changed. The South Pittsburg Republican, whose district includes Murfreesboro, is "leaning no." He says the American Health Care Act doesn’t address all of his concerns. He’d like to see an end to some of the remaining Obamacare mandates, for example, because he believes that will decrease health insurance premiums in the short term.

Also holding out judgment, until he sees the final version of the bill, is Rep. David Kustoff from West Tennessee. He says he wants control of healthcare decisions returned to states and individuals.

Brentwood Rep. Marsha Blackburn's office says "there is no statement," when asked whether she plans to support the final bill.

Other members of the state's Congressional delegation, however, seem to have made up their minds.

Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin chairs the House Budget Committee and has helped shepherd the bill through her committee.

Chuck Fleischmann of Chattanooga and John Duncan of Knoxville both think the bill isn't perfect, but they're voting for it. Duncan calls it "a move in a better direction than the nightmare of Obamacare."

Meanwhile, Kingsport Rep. Phil Roe is "proud to support" legislation he says slows the explosive growth of premiums while expanding coverage and reforming "our broken Medicaid system."

As expected, Tennessee's two Democratic congressman plan to vote against the measure. 

In a statement, Nashville Rep. Jim Cooper said "The Trump/Ryan plan ... will force 24 million Americans to lose insurance completely. We should be fixing the problems in Obamacare, not hurting millions."

Steve Cohen of Memphis thinks "Americans deserve better than this poorly thought-out legislation.”