Federal Judge Rules Against Tennessee On Affordable Care Act - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Federal Judge Rules Against Tennessee On Affordable Care Act

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by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A federal judge in Nashville issued a temporary restraining order against the State of Tennessee involving rules that pertain to the Affordable Care Act.

Judge Todd Campbell heard an emergency hearing Monday afternoon after the SEIU Local 205 and two others filed to have the order issued.

Attorney Jerry Martin argued the State's emergency rule on requirements for federally certified navigators infringed on his client's freedom of expression.

One of his clients, Exie Harrington, works at the Nashville Public Library. She helps people with computers and feared if she helped someone navigate the Healthcare Marketplace website she could be fined.

SEIU Local 205 was also a plaintiff on the case. The group wanted to set up a computer room where people with questions about the exchange could come in and get assistance. They worried the State's emergency rule would prevent them from doing so.

"The District Court Judge ordered that any individuals or groups that are facilitating, like the SEIU intends to, facilitating enrollment in a health insurance plan through the exchange, that you're permitted to do that, despite what the State rules say," explained the plaintiff's attorney Jerry Martin.

The attorneys representing the State said the State had no intention in upholding the rule in the context of this complaint. But the plaintiffs wanted a judge to make sure that would happen.

"I mean they could change there mind in an instant, or they could have reservations, or just change their minds and so we thought it was important to get the federal court to rule on the first amendment rights of the SEIU and its members," Martin said.

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance issued a statement regarding Monday's issuance of the temporary restraining order.

"The temporary restraining order of rule 0780-01-55-.02(6)(b) of the emergency navigator rule, as it relates to the plaintiffs proposed activities,  does not change our statutory requirement to register Navigators and Certified Application Counselors at all. Tennessee Public Chapter 377, which passed by a bipartisan vote of 28-1 in the Senate and 87-0 in the House of Representatives, requires our agency to register these individuals.  TDCI will continue to register Navigators and Certified Application Counselors, certified by the Federal Government, and perform background checks on those individuals who are handling the personal financial and medical information of Tennesseans. Our Department will continue to do what is best for our citizens and protect Tennesseans from potential fraud," according to the statement from public information officer Kate Abernathy.

Judge Campbell's temporary restraining order lasts for 14 days, and will end on October 21.

Last week, the State defended a similar case in Davidson County Chancery Court. The Chancellor in that case issued a ruling Monday that was similar to his federal counterpart.

Email: ccannon@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5ChrisCannon
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