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Politics

Tennessee House speaker creating health care task force

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

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

Harwell says she began conversations with health policy experts at Vanderbilt University's medical school after lawmakers rejected Insure Tennessee last year.

Harwell has dubbed the initiative the "3-Star Healthy Project." She said that the four Republican House members she has appointed to 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.