KINGSPORT, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean is ready to expand Medicaid in Tennessee, but Republican opponent Bill Lee says he would oppose such efforts.
Former Nashville Mayor Dean and Franklin businessman Lee met last night in Kingsport, Tennessee, for the second of three scheduled debates.
As with their first meeting, last night’s exchange was friendly and low-key, standing in sharp contrast to last week’s fiery debate between Tennessee senatorial candidates Phil Bredesen and Marsha Blackburn.
At one point, Lee even thanked Dean for keeping the campaign for governor upbeat and positive.
“In spite of the fact that we have differences and we’ve had the opportunity to share our plans and our thoughts – as different as they may be – it’s been an environment that the tone has been good.”
Medicaid expansion is perhaps the issue that highlights the sharpest contrast between the two candidate’s positions. Democrat Dean argues Tennesseans are sending Medicaid tax dollars to Washington, but not getting all of them back.
“We have literally given up about four billion dollars, and that is money that is not being saved for us. That is money that is being spent in other states.”
In his rebuttal, Lee noted Tennessee tried Medicaid expansion once before.
“And we were told that it would lower costs and it ended up failing because we couldn’t afford it and it almost broke the state.”
Dean and Lee will meet in a third and final debate in Nashville this Friday at Belmont University.