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 Media@Lung.org or 312-801-7629.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.