PNS Daily Newscast - February 28 2020 

Coronavirus updates from coast to coast; and safety-net programs face deep cuts by Trump administration.

2020Talks - February 28, 2020 

Tomorrow are the South Carolina primaries, and former VP Joe Biden leads in the poll, followed by winner of the first three contests, Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Tom Steyer. Some Republican South Carolinians may vote for Sanders because they want closed primaries.

Free Health Care Help for Tennesseans

Tennesseans without health coverage in 2016 will face a penalty under the Affordable Care Act. Credit: MGDboston/
Tennesseans without health coverage in 2016 will face a penalty under the Affordable Care Act. Credit: MGDboston/
December 3, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Thousands of Tennesseans face penalties in 2016 if they don't have health coverage, and the deadline to apply at is Dec. 15.

While some lament the $695 or more fine for those who don't secure coverage, Michele Johnson, executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center, says it's important to remember the fine is in place to make sure we all don't end up paying the price when the uninsured get sick.

"Health insurance is for all of us,” she points out. “It stabilizes our health care infrastructure and it's a fair thing. It's must cheaper for all of us if everybody's covered.

“You're much more likely to have your health needs met if you're insured and you're much less likely to die of preventable illness if you're health-insured. "

According to, eight out of 10 people who enrolled in a health plan with the federal health exchange qualified for financial help to make their monthly payments more affordable.

There are monthly premiums available for $75 or less a month. There is free assistance available in communities across the state.

Johnson says even the most capable people have trouble navigating the process and she says asking for help can help expedite your enrollment.

"What we found is that people who are really sophisticated just are overwhelmed and intimidated by this process and so people shouldn't be afraid to come and sit with somebody else because people who do it all day every day are just a lot better at making sure it's less overwhelming that you get into the plan that makes the most sense for you and your family," she states.

Johnson adds that there is growing public support for Gov. Bill Haslam's Insure Tennessee plan, which has been stalled by the legislature.

Insure Tennessee is a two-year pilot program that would have offered health care coverage to Tennesseans who currently don't have access to it.

The governor said recently he still hadn't seen an indication that public opinion or lawmakers had shifted to support the plan in greater numbers.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN