Tennessee is set to become the first state to request Medicaid funding in a lump sum in what Politico describes as “a radical overhaul of the entitlement program” that may cause low-income people to face cutbacks to their coverage.
The Trump Administration has promised states that they will grant them more flexibility in how Medicaid programs are run. Tennessee GOP legislators on Thursday passed a bill that requires the state submit a plan for a Medicaid block grant to the federal government in the next six months, once it is signed by Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican.
“This legislation does not seek to reduce funding or limit current eligibility services to anyone,” said state Sen. Paul Bailey, a Republican and a co-sponsor of the bill. "We need the flexibility to determine what is best for our citizens instead of continuing down the path of a one-size-fits-all program from Washington, D.C.”
However, Politico notes that there’s uncertainty about what the Trump administration is legally allowed to do when granting states Medicaid block grants, and Democrats are prepared to fight against block grants if they are approved.
“It’s so completely clear that they don’t know the impact,” added Michele Johnson, executive director of the consumer advocacy organization Tennessee Justice Center, which opposes the bill. “This is about pushing a sound bite for their next campaign ad and trying to get a tweet from the president.”
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