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Patient Groups Oppose Tennessee Medicaid Block Grant Proposal

Major National Patient Advocacy Organizations Submit Comments, Run Advertisements Urging CMS to Reject Tennessee Medicaid Waiver Request that Harms Patients with Serious and Chronic Health Conditions

(December 18, 2019) - WASHINGTON, D.C.

For more information please contact:

Stephanie Goldina
[email protected]

Today, 17 patient groups submitted a comment letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) asking the agency to reject Tennessee’s Section 1115 demonstration waiver changing its Medicaid program to a block grant. The coalition is also running advertisements in Washington and in Tennessee to raise awareness about the harm a block grant will do to individuals and patients. In addition, the groups released the following shared statement:

“As patient and consumer organizations representing millions of individuals facing serious, acute and chronic health conditions, we are deeply concerned about Tennessee’s waiver proposal. In July, many of our organizations submitted a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma expressing strong opposition to policies that would encourage, invite or allow states to apply for block grants or per capita caps for their Medicaid programs.

“Our organizations fear that by changing the financing structure of Tennessee’s Medicaid program – TennCare – to a block grant, the state will jeopardize access to quality and affordable care for patients with serious and chronic health conditions. The block grant will include vulnerable eligibility groups such as children and people with disabilities and requests unprecedented changes that could make it harder for patients to get the treatments and services that they need.

“Simply put, block grants reduce access to quality and affordable healthcare for patients with serious and chronic health conditions and are therefore unacceptable to our organizations. Our organizations urge CMS to “block the block grant” by rejecting Tennessee’s waiver request, and instead protect patients with pre-existing conditions in the Medicaid program.”

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)
American Kidney Fund
American Lung Association
Chronic Disease Coalition
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Epilepsy Foundation
Family Voices
Hemophilia Federation of America
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
March of Dimes
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Health Council
National Hemophilia Foundation
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Organization for Rare Disorders
National Patient Advocate Foundation
Susan G. Komen

For media interested in speaking with an expert about Medicaid, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7629. 


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