Hamilton County Republicans Approve TennCare Shared Savings Waiver

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Tennessee House Republicans today joined with the Senate Chamber of the General Assembly to pass HJR0018, a joint resolution approving the waiver for Tennessee’s shared savings proposal from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The waiver amendment is the first of its kind in the nation. The plan rewards the Volunteer State for its efficient fiscal management and gives the state the ability to better administer TennCare within Tennessee.

The shared savings plan will allow Tennessee to keep a share of underutilized federal funds so they may be reinvested in health-related services for TennCare enrollees. These enhanced programs include prioritizing maternal health, serving additional needy populations, eliminating the wait list for intellectual and developmental disability services, and addressing other sate-specific public health crises.

This proposal gives Tennessee more control over TennCare, ensuring a higher quality of care and more efficient services for the approximate 1.4 million Tennesseans enrolled in the program. With the shared savings, TennCare will have the flexibility to add new populations and benefits without federal approval, adequately address fraud, more effectively manage the pharmacy program, and invest in health rather than simply health care.

“We have been given the historic opportunity to improve our state’s health care system in an innovative way,” said Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain. “I am proud of the work the General Assembly has put into this plan to pursue a more efficient way to serve our TennCare enrollees, while simultaneously enhancing our already high quality of care.”

“We have worked on this bill for over two years to refine all issues so as to cover as many needed citizens and protect those now on TennCare,” Senator Todd Gardenhire said. “This will set the stage for reform for the whole country for this much needed service.”

“I am excited about this opportunity we have been given to improve health care for Tennesseans,” said Rep. Esther Helton, R-East Ridge. “This unique proposal will give our state the ability to provide better services and care for those who need it most.”

“Tennessee has one of the top Medicaid programs in the country,” Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson said. “This plan allows us to continue to provide exceptional care to our TennCare recipients in a more fiscally responsible way.”

“This historic agreement provides an opportunity to reap some of rewards for the excellent stewardship of our TennCare program and put those savings back into our health care system to help more Tennesseans,” Senator Bo Watson, R-Hixson said. “Instead of sending those dollars back to Washington, we can use it to reach more of our vulnerable populations without reducing the number of enrollees, benefits, provider rates, or quality of care.”   

“This shared savings plan will allow us to improve the exceptional services and benefits TennCare already provides while keeping existing enrollees,” Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah said. “I am proud to support this legislation and the work of the Division of TennCare.”

The process to approve the proposed waiver began in 2019, when the Tennessee General Assembly passed HB1280 directing the governor to submit the waiver amendment and negotiate with CMS. The agreement will be implemented by TennCare upon approval.

Visit here to read more about HJR0018. 


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