TennCare bill affecting 1.3M Tennesseans one of final issues for lawmakers


One of the lingering issues for state lawmakers, as they try to wrap their session today, affects 1.3 million Tennesseans. 

Lawmakers have been deadlocked over the best way to receive billions of dollars for health care.

The attempt at a compromise between the House and Senate versions failed in a conference committee Thursday afternoon. A new committee may be appointed or the bill could be dead. 

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

Thursday, Lamberth outlined the basics 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 Tenn. than they can in Washington, D.C.? I would say we can,” Lamberth added.

But the House TennCare block grant bill is different than the Senate version.

The Senate bill was more specific in what it wants from Gov. 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 additional funding to take care of our population growth.”

House leaders said they want a final say about what’s negotiated in the TennCare block grant bill, but 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 today.

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