Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has reached out to black leaders both on and off Capitol Hill in the last week, but he’s not budging on one of the key things they support. State capitol newsroom reporter Chris Bundgaard tells us what the Governor is now saying about expanding the state’s Medicaid program TennCare.
During the past week, Governor Lee has met with the legislative black caucus, NAACP members, and the Urban League of Middle Tennessee.
After meeting and greeting urban league leaders and guest, Lee was introduced as the first Governor to attend such an event for the group that focuses on social and economic development. Lee stressed that part in his speech.
“I am grateful and appreciative of the work y’all do to make sure we provide opportunity for everyone,” said Lee.
The Governor did not mention health care, but some of the legislature’s Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, some who are African-American, have said Lee has been talking about it with them.
“Try to express to him this is a new day, new dawn and new opportunity for him who says he wants to do something on health,” said Rep. Karen Camper.
But Lee is not budging publicly about calls from Democrats to expand the state’s Medicaid program TennCare to provide coverage for several hundred thousand low-income Tennesseans.
“What I want to do is to fix that system and not expand a broken system, gonna be my goal. So lowering the cost of healthcare so more people can afford it is going to be my goal and that’s where we are going to start,” said Lee.
The Governor says health care will be part of his State of the State address March 4th.