Democratic leader charges Harwell Medicaid-work requirement 'political stunt' for votes in governor's race

State House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, is sponsoring a bill that seeks a federal waiver that would mandate work requirements for able-bodied, working-age TennCare recipients.

NASHVILLE - A top state House Democrat charged Friday that Republican Speaker Beth Harwell has relied on financing gimmicks to pay for her bill seeking to impose work requirements on most able-bodied adults enrolled in Tennessee's Medicaid health care program.

"Speaker Harwell could not come up with the cash she needed to fund the work-requirement Medicaid bill, so Speaker Harwell and the House Republicans have now turned to Washington-style smoke and mirrors to conjure up out of nothing a fake fiscal note to pass their bill without paying for it," Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart of Nashville said.

"We don't just make up fairy tales to get funding," he added.

Harwell and Rep. Dan Howell's bill, scheduled for floor debate Monday, directs the state to ask the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to grant a waiver of Medicaid rules to implement "reasonable work and community engagement requirements" on working-age adults without dependent children under 6.