TennCare bill affecting 1.3-million Tennesseans one of final issues for lawmakers

Local In TN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – One of the lingering issues for state lawmakers as they try to wrap their session Thursday affects 1.3-million Tennesseans.

Lawmakers have been deadlocked over the best way to receive billions of dollars for the healthcare of 1.3-million Tennesseans.

“It is extraordinarily important to over a million Tennesseans who receive TennCare that we make sure they get the services they need,” says House Republican Majority Leader William Lamberth.

He outlined the basics Thursday behind the idea that state lawmakers want to get federal money in a block grant to pay for the state’s Medicaid program TennCare.

“Can we make those decisions better in TN than they can in Washington, DC. I would say we can,” added Rep. Lamberth.

But the House TennCare block grant bill is different than the Senate version. The Senate bill was more specific in what it wants from Governor Bill Lee in negotiations for the block grant with federal Medicaid officials.

“We wanted flexibility to take care of any cost increases in regards to pharmaceuticals,” said Senate sponsor Paul Bailey. “Another is making sure if our TennCare population grew, that we would be able to get additional funding to take care of our population growth.”

House leaders say lawmakers want a final say about what’s negotiated in the TennCare block grant bill. They say the Senate has no such provision.

The differences in the bill are expected to be resolved in a conference committee between the House and Senate Thursday.

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