health care

Black, husband criticized for lobbying against medical marijuana bill

Medical marijuana legislation sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison is hitting a hurdle with gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Diane Black opposing it and her husband trying to kill the measure, according to the Tennessee Ledger. Her husband says his actions are in the public interest and not for any financial gain by his company.

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At guber forum, Democrats call for Medicaid expansion; Republicans don’t

A health care forum Friday in Nashville illustrated the partisan split in the Tennessee governor’s race over Medicaid expansion, with Democrats ranking it their top priority and Republicans opposing it or espousing other priorities, reports the Associated Press.

The Democrats, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, called for expansion of Tennessee’s Medicaid program, TennCare, to 280,000 more low-income patients. The Republican-led General Assembly killed the plan in 2015.

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Legislators file revised medical marijuana bill

Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) speaks on the House floor on Jan. 18., 2018 (Photo credit: Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) speaks on the House floor on Jan. 18., 2018 (Photo credit: Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Press release from Senate Republican Caucus

NASHVILLE – State Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) and Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) today introduced Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018, legislation that would allow Tennessee patients with specific health conditions access to safe, regulated medical cannabis oil-based manufactured products only.
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Medicaid expansion: Still pushed by Democrats, panned by Republicans

On the opening day of the 2018 legislative session Tuesday, about 100 protesters were on hand urging Medicaid expansion in Tennessee and House Democrats made a round of speeches supporting the idea. But Republican supermajority members remained hostile to the proposal, as they have since Gov. Bill Haslam tried and failed to win approval three years ago.

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Cancer survivor running as Democrat against Kelsey in Senate District 31

Gabriela Salinas, a native of Bolivia who gained media attention as a childhood cancer survivor treated at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, is seeking the Democratic nomination to the state Senate seat now held by Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown. WMC-TV says her life story “has plot twists worthy of a Steven Spielberg film.”

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Trump encourages Alexander to keep trying on Obamacare deal

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander says President Donald Trump called him in late December to urge that the Tennessee Republican continue efforts to shore up health insurance markets, reports Politico in an article updating the Obamacare situation in Washington.

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Alexander gives up on Obamacare premium fix — until February or so

Joint press release from Sens. Lamar Alexander and  Susan Collins

WASHINGTON, December 20, 2017—United States Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today jointly released the following statement:

“Rather than considering a broad year-end funding agreement as we expected, it has become clear that Congress will only be able to pass another short-term extension to prevent a government shutdown and to continue a few essential programs,” said the Senators.  “For this reason, we have asked Senator McConnell not to offer this week our legislation which independent analysts Avalere and Oliver-Wyman say would reduce premiums by about 20 percent for the 9 million Americans who have no government subsidies to help them buy insurance in the individual market. Instead, we will offer it after the first of the year when the Senate will consider the omnibus spending bill, the Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization, funding for Community Health Centers, and other legislation that was to have been enacted this week.

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Comptroller finds fault with TennCare paperwork pile

The state Comptroller’s Office says TennCare’s 98-page renewal form is making it harder than necessary for low-income Tennesseans to maintain their subsidized government health coverage, reports WPLN.

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Fed funding of health insurance for 74,000 TN children threatened; TN Democrats see ‘political games’

Absent action soon by Congress, funding for a federal program that provides health insurance coverage to 74,000 Tennessee children and pregnant mothers could soon run dry, reports the Times Free Press. State officials, including Gov. Bill Haslam, are worried about the possibility.

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Feds restore Medicare billing privileges to West TN doctor who had bipartisan backing

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has restored Medicare billing privileges to  Dr. Bryan Merrick, who was cut off last year over what appeared to be very minor paperwork errors. Tennessee Star has quotes from some political figures who got involved – notably including Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who had called for Senate hearings on the regulation used in cutting off Merrick, and former state Democratic Chairman Roy Herron, who was acting as the physician’s attorney.

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