Nearly 87,000 adult TennCare enrollees could be affected under work requirement plan

NASHVILLE - As many as 86,400 able-bodied adult enrollees on Tennessee's Medicaid program could be affected by a bill that seeks to require they work, attend school, volunteer or face losing their health benefits, according to a legislative analysis.

The bill, estimated to cost the state $18.7 million annually, cleared the Republican-controlled House Health Subcommittee on a voice vote. The two Democrats on the panel, including Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, voted no.

Sponsored by Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville and state Rep. Dan Howell, R-Georgetown, the bill orders the Haslam administration to seek a federal waiver to impose Medicaid work requirements under the new policy issued last month by the Trump administration.

"My intent in this bill is to try to ease them into the workforce, try to make them productive citizens," Howell, who is carrying the bill, told the panel.