Gov. Lee says block grant proposal would help rural health care crisis
The 111th Tennessee General Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday.
Lawmakers will discuss a variety of topics including abortion, medical marijuana, and health care.
Democrats are expected to push for the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but it's unlikely the Republican-controlled legislature will support the expansion.
Instead, Gov. Bill Lee said they're waiting on approval from the federal government on the state's Medicaid block grant waiver.
It's no secret Tennessee is in the middle of a rural health care crisis such as hospital closures.
In 2013, the closure of Copper Basin Medical Center left thousands of people without access to health care.
"I believe that every Tennessean no matter where you live, you ought to have access to quality health care that you can afford," Lee said.
Gov. Lee said this block grant would give the state an opportunity to improve Medicaid.
The block grant would allow the state more power when deciding who is covered under TennCare.
TennCare provides health care to 1.4 million people, primarily low-income pregnant women, children and people who are elderly or have a disability.
TennCare currently has an annual budget of $12 million.
Gov. Lee's plan has sparked concern amongst several Tennesseans, who have voiced their worries at public meetings.
In October, Rosalie Howes voiced her concerns at a public meeting in Chattanooga.
She said this plan could cost her son, Hyrum, coverage under the Katie Beckett waiver, which provides health care to children with disabilities.
She said without the coverage, Hyrum's medical bills would reach up to $2,000 a month.