TennCare block grant proposal advances in state House, despite opposition for 30 organizations

One day after 30 organizations signed onto a letter expressing opposition to a GOP-led proposal to pursue Medicaid funding through a block grant, a House finance committee quickly approved the measure.

With a voice vote, the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Wednesday approved HB 1280, which would require Gov. Bill Lee’s administration to meet with federal officials to formally request a block grant for TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program.

Unlike last week, when several Democrats tried to amend the legislation in the House Insurance Committee, members of the finance panel asked no questions and refrained from any discussion.

The day before, more than two dozen organizations, including the YWCA Nashville and Middle Tennessee, the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee and the United Ways of Tennessee, signed onto a letter criticizing the legislation.

“Our organizations are deeply concerned, however, by proposals to use the Medicaid waiver process to make changes that would adversely impact individuals,” the letter said.

The groups said obtaining a block grant could lead to the elimination of federal consumer protections, threaten the health care coverage of Tennesseans and remove financial security safeguards.

“For this reason, we respectfully oppose any proposal for a ‘block grant’ or other waiver that would radically alter TennCare and potentially endanger the public,” the groups said.

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