Patient Groups Strongly Oppose Medicaid Block Grant Approval

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — 21 patient and consumer groups issued the following statement regarding the Centers for Medicare…

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — 21 patient and consumer groups issued the following statement regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approval of Tennessee’s 1115 demonstration waiver, which would block grant federal funding for the state’s Medicaid program.

«Our organizations strongly oppose the Administration’s approval of Tennessee’s block grant waiver. This is a reckless move that would reduce Tennesseans’ ability to get needed healthcare. Medicaid coverage is critical to helping our nation’s most vulnerable patients access care, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.

«Our organizations have clearly and repeatedly voiced our deep concerns with Tennessee’s proposal, as well as our strong opposition to block grants in Medicaid in general. Per capita caps and block grants are designed to cap or limit the amount of federal funding provided to states, forcing them to either make up the difference with their own funds or make cuts to their programs reducing access to care for the patients we represent. Program cuts will likely result in enrollment limits, benefit reductions, reductions in provider payments or increased out-of-pocket cost-sharing for Medicaid enrollees. The approval specifically includes authority to limit prescription drug coverage, a dangerous proposal for patients.

«Since our organizations filed comments on Tennessee’s proposal nearly one year ago, our nation has been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and our concerns about how Tennessee’s proposal will harm patients with serious and chronic health conditions have only intensified. It is irresponsible to approve this waiver during this public health crisis, and especially to do so for an unprecedented 10-year period. This waiver agreement, if implemented, will limit Tennessee’s flexibility in responding to recessions, pandemics, new treatments and natural disasters – and as a consequence moves in the opposite direction of the lessons learned from 2020.

«Our organizations strongly urge the incoming Administration to halt implementation of this waiver and urge Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee lawmakers to reject this bad deal for patients in Tennessee

American Lung Association

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Arthritis Foundation

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Epilepsy Foundation

Hemophilia Federation of America

Lutheran Services in America

March of Dimes

Muscular Dystrophy Association

Mended Hearts & Mended Little Hearts

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Health Council

National Hemophilia Foundation

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

National Organization for Rare Disorders

National Patient Advocate Foundation

Susan G. Komen

The AIDS Institute

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

United Way Worldwide


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SOURCE American Lung Association