The singing, the chanting and the yelling were already gone from the lobby of Legislative Plaza.
But Tracy Foster remained, sitting quietly with tears running down her face.
The Clinton, Tenn., resident suffers from a litany of health problems, including bladder cancer. Foster said she doesn't qualify for Medicaid and can't work because of her illness, but she thought a controversial measure making its way through the Tennessee General Assembly would at last offer the health insurance she needs.
Previous: Lawmakers seek answers after Insure TN dies
Instead, Foster was one of hundreds of advocates to watch lawmakers snuff out the newly rekindled hope for Insure Tennessee, a plan to provide hundreds of thousands of low-income Tennesseans with federally subsidized health care.
"I spend every day in pain, and I went everywhere and begged for help. And I guess I can't get it. I thought this was going to be a way to get help," Foster said, adding that she has few other options after Insure Tennessee's failure.
"Go home and wait to die, I guess."
The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee voted 2-6-1 against a resolution that would've allowed Gov. Bill Haslam to implement his version of Medicaid expansion. Six Republicans voted against the bill, with Democrat Reginald Tate of Memphis and Republican Ken Yager of Kingston voting for the bill. Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, abstained.
It's the fourth time a Senate committee has voted on the bill, compared with no votes in any House committee.
Although the House version of the plan is still alive and theoretically could make it to the Senate, the likelihood of Insure Tennessee becoming law this year is very low.
"The governor is disappointed in the vote but glad Insure Tennessee had a chance to be heard in two different Senate committees during regular session," said Haslam spokesman David Smith.
"As he has said, the issue has not gone away, and he will continue to work to find a way to cover more Tennesseans and address growing health care costs in the state."
It was never very likely the nine-member committee, eight of whom are Republicans, would approve the plan. Opponents repeatedly said they thought the plan would end up costing the state tax money, questioned whether Tennessee could opt out of the plan and criticized its ties to the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."
During the hearing Tuesday, though, there was very little discussion. Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, asked one question about the plan, the only question asked by a committee member.
"It was disconcerting to see the lack of any meaningful discussion. The people of Tennessee deserved better from their legislature today," said Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville.
Yarbro initially sponsored the resolution that allowed Haslam to move forward with the plan during the regular session after a GOP-backed measure failed in a special legislative session earlier this year. After a subcommittee and committee approved the plan, GOP Sens. Doug Overbey and Richard Briggs took over as lead sponsors of the resolution.
"It is not an expansion to Medicaid. It is a new approach. It is a Tennessee approach," Overbey, R-Maryville, told the committee Tuesday.
Overbey sponsored the resolution during the special session, and Briggs, who also is a doctor, voted for the plan when it died in special session. Because of concerns raised during that session, lawmakers amended the latest version of Insure Tennessee.
The new plan required Haslam to wait until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the ACA case called King v. Burwell; created a six-month "lockout" for people who don't pay Insure Tennessee premiums; and required Haslam to have a letter from federal health officials promising to let Tennessee end the program at any time.
Otherwise, the plan is the same as introduced during the special session. The plan creates two programs for people who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line: one would create vouchers for people whose employers offer insurance that they cannot afford, and a second program would create savings accounts that members could use to pay costs after partaking in healthy choices, such as appropriate use of an emergency room.
"Is Insure Tennessee Obamacare? I think you can give it a resounding no, it is not," said Briggs, R-Knoxville.
For hours before the committee hearing several hundred supporters in purple shirts filled statehouse hallways with their bodies and their songs. Led by clergy, health care professionals and advocates, the Insure Tennessee supporters came from across the state to sing songs before they packed the Senate committee room.
Richard Zook Jr. had hoped it would make a difference. The native of Finger, Tenn., in McNairy County said he hopes his fellow Insure Tennessee advocates remember Tuesday's vote when elections roll around again.
"Get people registered to vote. Let them make up their own minds, of course, but get them registered to vote and see what happens then," Zook said.
The House version of the resolution is slated for discussion Wednesday morning in the House Insurance and Banking subcommittee. Although theoretically it could make it to the full House and potentially the Senate, it's highly unlikely that will happen.
Reach Dave Boucher at 615-259-8892 and on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.
HOW THEY VOTED
Chairman Jack Johnson, R-Franklin: No
Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville: Abstain
Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville: No
Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga: No
Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville: No
Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown: No
Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson: No
Sen. Reginald Tate, D-Memphis: Yes
Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston: Yes