Kelsey, Bell Ask State Attorney General To Join Efforts "To Curb Federal Abuse Of Power Over Obamacare Rules"

Friday, January 03, 2014

State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and State Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) on Friday called on Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper "to join his counterparts in eleven other states in asking Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to go through proper channels before changing rules for the federal health care plan commonly referred to as Obamacare.

"

  

Attorney Generals in West Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia wrote Secretary Sebelius a letter last week "expressing concern that HHS has proposed a rule which 'both compounds illegal executive action and fails to protect the privacy of consumers using the health insurance exchanges.' ”

 

The senators also urged Attorney General Cooper "to file a lawsuit with other attorney generals based on the problems enumerated by the letter, particularly as it concerns illegal rules that have not been authorized by congressional action. This includes enforcement of some parts of the federal healthcare law, while delaying other provisions in violation of constitutional authority.

 

“Tennesseans are concerned with the illegal action being taken by the Obama administration without congressional approval,” said Senator Kelsey.  “The only way Tennessee can enter into a lawsuit is if the Attorney General decides to. That is why I am calling on General Cooper to fight Obamacare today by challenging these illegal decisions.”

 

“The overstepping of authority in regards to Obamacare rules has been breathtaking,” said Senator Bell.  “Our citizens’ privacy is greatly compromised as a result of these rules.  The overreach of power will continue unless states challenge these actions through the courts.”

 

They said the attorney generals objected to five major administrative directives:

·       Although they support allowing citizens to keep their cancelled health insurance plan, the attorney generals wrote that they only way to legally fix the problem is through congressional action rather than administrative rule.

·       They asked HHS to implement commonsense safeguards to protect the security of consumers’ private information throughout the enrollment process on the healthcare exchanges.

·       They called for rigorous training requirements and accountability for all programs using those governing state-licensed insurance agents and brokers as models to ensure a basic proficiency regarding consumers’ health insurance options.

·       They asked for explanation regarding help for defrauded consumers whose personal information was improperly shared, including clarification of liability when the information is wrongly disclosed.

·       They asked HHS "to work in partnership with state consumer protection efforts.  In particular, they asked for clarification regarding federal requirements so they do not bar states from imposing certification and licensing requirements like surety bonds and acts-and-omissions insurance, on non-profit assistance groups who are not licensed agents or brokers."

 

“It is not enough simply to adopt vague policies against fraud. HHS has given its stamp of approval to every counselor who interacts with a consumer,” the letter from the attorney generals said.  “This position of trust has allowed counselors to gain access to a wide variety of personal information from unsuspecting consumers. Unscrupulous counselors, who are not properly screened out or supervised, have easy means to commit identity theft on consumers seeking enrollment assistance.”

 

“We believe Tennessee’s Attorney General should act to protect healthcare consumers in Tennessee from this disastrously flawed law,” Kelsey concluded. 

 

Kelsey is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, while Bell is Chairman of the Senate Government Operations Committee.

 


Tennessee Human Rights Commission Releases Status Of Human Rights In Tennessee Report

The Tennessee Human Rights Commission released The Status of Human Rights in Tennessee Report on Friday at the commission board meeting. The Status of Human Rights Report is a compilation of testimony from the Spring 2014 hearings conducted in Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Memphis. The testimony presents current issues, trends best practices,programs, possible solutions, ... (click for more)

Mark Crago Joins CHI Memorial Medical Group

CHI Memorial Medical Group announced that Mark Crago, M.D. has joined CHI Memorial Family Practice Associates Ooltewah. Dr. Crago is a graduate   Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD. He completed his residency at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI. "We are pleased to welcome Dr. Crago," said Nicholas G. Economides, M.D., vice president and physician ... (click for more)

1 Dies, 1 Critically Injured In North Chattanooga House Fire

For the second time in three days, a house fire has resulted in tragedy with a 35-year-old woman dying and a man critically injured in North Chattanooga. At 10:13 a.m. on Wednesday, Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire with entrapment at 220 Houser St. The first firefighters on the scene saw flames shooting out windows and part of the roof. Having ... (click for more)

Appeal Dropped In $25 Million Lawsuit Filed Against Hennen's Restaurant By Lisa Barnes

An appeal has been dropped of a Circuit Court jury verdict that found Hennen's Restaurant not at fault in a $25 million lawsuit brought by Lisa Barnes. Circuit Court officials said the appeal was "voluntarily" dropped. It had been set to be reviewed by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The verdict in the courtroom of Judge Neil Thomas in early February came at the end of ... (click for more)

Lawlessness At Heritage Park

As a frequent visitor at Heritage Park in East Brainerd, I must say that the situation is becoming slightly out of control.  To start, parking is atrocious.  The unpaved lot contains nothing but loose gravel which has naturally given way to divots in the ground assuring you a few bumps.  Why isn't this area smoothed out?  It's not worth parking there anyways ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful 2014

Over 40 years ago I was a young sports writer when I came up with the notion of setting daily things aside, just for one day, and writing about why “I Am Thankful.” Every Thanksgiving I come up with my list and it is as much about me as it is about my gratitude for all things great and small. I can’t imagine approaching this day in any other way. Here we go … I AM THANKFUL for ... (click for more)