Local 24 News political analyst & commentator Otis Sanford on Gov. Lee’s TennCare block grant proposal

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on Governor Bill Lee’s TennCare block grant proposal.

It certainly was no surprise that hundreds of people showed up at the University of Memphis Tuesday to voice opposition to Governor Bill Lee’s block grant proposal to fund TennCare, Tennessee’s substitution for Medicaid. The question now is, will the Governor listen to the complaints expressed not just here in Memphis but across the state. My guess is no.

Lee has already made up his mind on the issue. And the public hearings are just a formality, nothing more. The Governor is convinced that the nearly $8 billion block grant plan is the best way to provide healthcare to low income Tennesseans without expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Tennessee would become the first state in the nation to go the block grant route.

But critics warn the plan could potentially drop hundreds of needy recipients from the TennCare rolls. And since there would be little, if any, federal oversight of the grant money, the chances of abuse and fraud will increase.

Tuesday’s hearing in Memphis almost did not happen. Governor Lee originally planned three sessions. But the one for west Tennessee was scheduled for Jackson. State Representative Karen Camper deserves credit for basically shaming the administration into holding a fourth hearing.

But politics controls this effort. And Democrats such as Camper and others are powerless to stop this Republican plan. As we’ve heard many times, elections have consequences. And that’s my point of view.

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