With election in the balance, Tenn. lawmakers hopeful for block grant approval

Posted at 8:29 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 21:29:41-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Republicans once again hold a super majority in the state of Tennessee, but does the presidential election threaten the healthcare priorities of the state government?

In a year when some expected democrat upsets in the statehouse and senate, only one seat changed over from republican.

Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton said he heard others say up to eight seats could've switched to democrat. He's happy that didn't happen.

"We were able to hold them off. They didn't get any of them," said Sexton.

But, the republican lead push for Tenncare Block Grants could be threatened if Joe Biden wins the presidency. Sexton said he hopes block grants get approval from the federal government before the end of the year.

"Hopefully, we'll some type of notice by the end of the year if Joe Biden does win and we get permission to do that. I think it will be a win for Washington, it will be a win for Tennessee to allow us to go that route," he said.

Healthcare is one of Sexton's main focuses for the next legislative session. Also, education and child literacy are high on the list of the state republicans.

Budget cuts are inevitable, according to Sexton. COVID-19 had a devastating impact on the state economy.

While rural counties seem to be rebounding, he said, both Shelby and Davidson counties have struggled to bring in the revenue the state needs.

"The worry with Davidson County not opening back up is the long term effects it will have on our economy, when businesses shut down, restaurants have to go out. What that has to look like and if it will be a long term factor with businesses being closed so long," said Sexton.