TennCare confronts nearly 2,300 pages of block grant responses


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Have you ever had to go through more than 2,000 pages of emails for a complex project that faces a deadline in about three weeks?

That’s what confronts people at the state’s Medicaid program, TennCare.

2,272 pages of letters, documents, and even hand-written notes.

The massive amounts of material are written responses to TennCare’s dramatic funding change called a block grant waiver that could affect the Medicaid program’s 1.4 million Tennesseans.

The responses differ greatly from the hundreds of in-person comments at five statewide hearings earlier this month where only one individual voiced support for the plan.

The plan requests a new system of funding from the federal government for the state’s Medicaid program so critical for low-income Tennesseans.

Many of the responses on TennCare’s website came from health care groups.

Major player after major player with stakes in TennCare weighed in with long, carefully written responses.

One was Blue Cross Blue Shield or BlueCare–the insurance giant that’s long played a role in TennCare.

Among the things said in a three-and-a-half page submission October 18th from its CEO:  (The block grant proposal) “…protects the state from significant financial risk from future economic uncertainty, preserves key programs by thoughtfully crafting the scope of the block grant…”

Other major health care players weighing in included hospital system Ascension St. Thomas.

Its CEO in a letter urged the state “…to ensure the needs of Medicaid beneficiaries are fully met before considering alternate federal and state TennCare spending.”

TennCare has just three weeks to digest those responses before submitting its block grant waiver to the federal government on November 20th.

A spokesperson today said the 2,000 pages of responses will be included in the waiver request.

TennCare officials have also responded to what it calls “misunderstandings and clarifying facts” about its block grant proposal. Click here to view the document.

Click here to view the 2,000 plus pages of email responses.

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