By JONATHAN MATTISE
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Top Republican elected officials in Tennessee say their state's improved economy is partly why at least 128,000 children were cut from its low-income health insurance programs over the past two years.

However, Democrats and some health care advocates dispute that contention.

Gov. Bill Lee and Senate Speaker Randy McNally made the assertion about TennCare and CoverKids in letters last month responding to concerns by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.

McNally wrote that, in part, the economy under President Donald Trump is helping people come out of poverty.

A Georgetown University report found there's scant evidence that U.S. children's Medicaid and CHIP enrollment drop primarily resulted from a strong economy.

Lee cited the economy and the restart of annual eligibility evaluations, which requires beneficiaries to provide updated information.

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