published Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Ruling issued in case over Tennessee health adviser rules

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New Health Care Navigator Rules
New Health Care Navigator Rules

NASHVILLE — A federal judge has blocked the state of Tennessee from enforcing emergency rules for people who advise others about the new health insurance exchange.

The Tennessean reports U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell issued a temporary restraining order Monday. In his ruling, Campbell said the rules defining who can help are too broad.

In effect, the ruling means unions, churches and others can help the uninsured sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act without the possibility of being fined by the state.

A library assistant and a home health aide filed the lawsuit last week saying that the rules violate their right to free speech.

Meanwhile, an agreement was reached Monday on a similar lawsuit in state court. An agreed order filed in Davidson County Chancery Court narrows the scope of the emergency rules.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance Julie McPeak have said the rules were put in place to protect consumers from fraud.

Bill Young, Tennessee's solicitor general, said there was no intent to stop unions from helping people sign up for health coverage.

"It is a cold comfort," said attorney Jerry Martin, who represented the workers and Service Employees International Union. "Mindsets can change."

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