CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Chattanoogans today had their chance to comment on Governor Bill Lee’s block grant proposal to TennCare Officials.
Sponsored by State Representative Yusuf Hakeem, the town hall meeting was one of several being held around the state.
Chattanooga citizens packed the meeting room at the downtown library this afternoon….to listen and take to the mike and comment on the Governor’s TennCare block grant idea.
The 2 o’clock meeting at the downtown library was only supposed to last an hour, but most participants were still there at 4pm.
Representative Hakeem said it was set up to give locals a chance to voice their feelings about the controversial block grant idea.
“It is my understanding that all of the public hearings that were held across the state including here in the city of Chattanooga, those comments will be taken into consideration. There are opportunities for tweaks, for changes to take place, hopefully, those will come about as a result of the input of citizens today,” said Representative Yusuf Hakeem.
The governor is proposing to ask the Trump administration for a lump sum grant..and allow the state to determine how to handle medicaid payments without federal oversight. TennCare has always been one of the biggest burdens on taxpayers, so what are Chattanoogans saying?
“If this block grant is going to improve the health status of our community of Hamilton County, count me in. If not, then we as a community need to come together with some formidable solutions to start working together and to start addressing a lot of issues,” said Chris Ramsey, President of the Southeast Tennessee Health Consortium.
“This is not something that I agree with. I think they’re trying to limit my medication to 1 medication, and I take 6. These medications keep me alive, while functioning, and – it just helps me survive at this point,” said Justin Thomason.
Some were passionate.
“Did I go to the doctor? ‘No.’ No. I bought a brace, I took some ibuprofen, and I sucked it up. I’m sick of sucking it up! Do something, now. This for-profit health care system is a joke. Every single day picks winners and losers. And the working people of this country are not losers!!,” said Jessica Ferguson, a Ghost Tours Guide.
The Tennessee Medical Association issued a statement today asking for more information about the block grant..and how it can realistically improve healthcare access and quality while reducing costs.
Meetings similar to the one in Chattanooga are being held in all major cities in the state.