Senator Lamar Alexander on Tuesday said that he welcomes Governor Bill Lee’s proposal to give Tennessee more flexibility in spending federal Medicaid dollars and that he will encourage federal officials to consider it seriously.
Senator Alexander, who is chairman of the health committee in the U.S.
Senate, said that he has always supported block grants and “Last Congress, I supported legislation in the United States Senate that would have taken Affordable Care Act money and turned it into block grants that states, including Tennessee, could decide how best to spend.”
The senator’s comments came after the state of Tennessee published a proposed block grant waiver for medical services for public comment. The amount of proposed funding will be based on TennCare data from the last three years, and the amount will increase based on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated inflation projections. If the number of people receiving health coverage from TennCare grows, the amount of money that is in the block grant will grow. There are no changes to proposed services or populations that qualify for Tenncare in the proposal.
Per the state’s legislation, the waiver must be submitted to CMS by Nov. 20. Prior to submission, TennCare must provide a 30-day public comment period, which will end on Oct. 18.