Tennessee House speaker creating health care task force

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell is creating a task force to propose ways to improve access to health care in Tennessee.

The Nashville Republican said she began conversations with health policy experts at Vanderbilt University’s medical school after lawmakers rejected Governor Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee proposal last year.

Harwell has dubbed the initiative the “3-Star Healthy Project.”

“In order to put some structure to these concepts we have been discussing, I am announcing today the formation of a task force that will delve into these ideas and formulate a specific proposal,” she said.

House Health Committee Chairman Cameron Sexton, and Representatives Matthew Hill, Steve McManus and Roger Kane were appointed to the group, reported The Tennessean.

The task force will work to come up with a specific proposal to make to the federal government as early as June, though the plan could require lawmaker approval next year.

Democrats were quick to criticize the announcement as an attempt to deflect election-year criticism for turning down Haslam’s plan to cover 280,000 low-income Tennesseans.