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NASHVILLE — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Monday announced he has named Stephen Smith as the new director of the $12.1 billion TennCare Medicaid program, which provides health coverage to 1.4 million low-income residents.

"I am confident that his leadership will keep TennCare as a leader in the nation, and my administration appreciates his willingness to continue serving our state," Lee said in a news release.

Smith, who had been serving as deputy director and chief of staff at the Division of TennCare, replaces Gabe Roberts, who in January announced he was leaving to take a job in the private sector.

Until his elevation, Smith had been managing multiple program areas in TennCare, including policy, legal and legislative affairs, budget and finance and information technology.

Before joining the Lee administration, Smith served in then-Gov. Bill Haslam's administration in various roles including as the governor's chief of staff, policy director, senior adviser and deputy commissioner for policy and external affairs at the state Department of Education.

Smith, a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Nashville School of Law, lives in Nashville with his wife, Christina, and their three daughters.

Contact Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.

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