Critics sound off at Tennessee Medicaid block grant forum

Posted at 2:18 PM, Oct 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 20:22:06-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Several Tennesseans voiced their concerns, fears and frustrations about the anticipated $7.9 billion Medicaid block grant proposal during a public forum Tuesday.

Opponents say the controversial new plan could strip thousands of Tennesseans of their health coverage.

Tennessee would be the first use a block grant program. Currently, Tennessee receives Medicaid funding for TennCare based on a ratio from the federal government.

But lawmakers and Governor Bill Lee want us to just take a giant lump sum with much less restrictions over who and who can't be covered.

Dozens of critics spoke in the forum, which lasted a full two hours. It was held to receive public comment ahead of the state moving forward with block grants.

Doctors, attorneys, patients who are currently on TennCare and are worried about losing coverage. There is so much uncertainty surrounding block grants, that it's really unclear what it will mean.

State lawmakers pushed the plan forward in an effort to save money.

"That savings is going to come from cuts, hopefully someone in one of those TV's will hold these people accountable, these decision are going to hurt people," said Justin Kanew. "We should be protecting the poor not hurting them."

Governor Lee did not attend the forum. It's one of three being held across the state. His office told NewsChannel 5 he had prior obligations.

Read more about the block grant proposal:

Tennessee unveils $7.9B block grant proposal for Medicaid

Tennessee's block grant Medicaid funding proposal would be first in nation, leading to questions