The first battle of the next Tea Party wave — December 5 rally in Nashville against Obamacare exchange
Opposition to Obamacare fueled the Tea Party wave of 2009-2010. The next wave will include continued opposition to Obamacare, along with other fiscal issues, The Tea Party tsunami at the gates.
The fight over Obamacare as a law ended when Chief Justice John Roberts enganged in mental gymnastics to uphold the law under Congress’ taxing authority, and then again when Obama’s reelection removed any possibility of complete repeal.
The fight over Obamacare now is over implementation. There are inherent problems in the law itself which will raise popular ire, but the battle now is over exchanges and other aspects of implementation.
One of the first orders up is whether states will implement the Obamacare exchanges, or let it default to the federal government, which will have a difficult time doing so.
In response, a variety of groups led by local Tea Party organizations are organizing rallies for December 5, as reflected in this announcement being circulated by e-mail and on the web (h/t Linda in Tennessee):
Please Join us at the JUST SAY NO RALLY Wed Dec 5, 12 Noon at the Capitol
Your help is needed to stop an Obamacare State Exchange in TN. Governor Haslam must make a decision by December 14 and reports indicate he is still undecided. Please join us as we raise our voices together and petition the Governor to JUST SAY NO to an Obamacare State Exchange. We will have a petition for you to sign at the Rally.
Here is a map link: http://goo.gl/pQXUl. We will Rally on the East Side of the Tennessee State Capitol Building at 12 Noon on Wednesday, December 5.
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/
Additional Volunteer Needs: We are looking for someone who can update all of our online presences with events like these (Facebook, FreedomWorks, and our own website calendar). Email email@example.com if you are interested.
Here is the form letter Gov. Haslam sends in response to letters on the topic:
Subject: Responding to your message
Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about the federal health care legislation and healthcare exchanges. Listening to and learning from Tennesseans is very important to me, and I am committed to better understanding your concerns.
I believe there is a need for real, market-based healthcare reform in America that will increase accessibility while working to control the costs that place an unfair burden on so many Tennesseans. I have actively opposed the unfunded mandates that resulted from the healthcare bill President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010. The law is an incredible overreach by the federal government that will be costly, and it does nothing to solve the crisis of the cost of healthcare in our country. Earlier this year, I joined with other conservative governors in signing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court opposing this law.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court upheld the majority of the law this summer, including the provision that requires states to either participate in a federal exchange or establish a state-run exchange. Because of this, there is not an option to “opt-out” of this law. If that option existed, the decision would be easy.
If Tennessee decides not to set up an exchange, one will be set up for us by the federal government and run out of Washington, DC. There are still a lot of unanswered questions out of Washington about the level of flexibility and control the state would actually have in running an exchange. These and other questions must be answered by the US Department of Health and Human Services before a decision can be made.
I have heard concerns that a state-run exchange could potentially violate the Tennessee Healthcare Freedom Act. That act specifically addresses agents of the state enforcing a requirement to buy health insurance. Because purchasing from the exchange is optional and no one is required to purchase from the exchange, it is not affected by our state law. As far as the exchange is concerned, Tennesseans are still free to purchase their own insurance from the insurer of their choice, or their employer where provided. The individual mandate in the ACA is enforced by the IRS, not the State of Tennessee.
The federal government has extended the deadline for states to declare their intentions until December 14, 2012. While we are waiting for Washington to answer our questions and address our concerns, we will use this time to continue to listen to constituents and consult with legislators and other conservative governors around the country to make sure we have as much information as possible to make the best decision for the people of Tennessee.
If any readers attend the rally, please send me photos, video and reports.