Tennessee Attorney General moves to defend the state against Block Grant lawsuit


Photo: State of Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III stepped into a recent legal battle between the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Justice Center by filing a motion to intervene as a defendant.

According to a press release by the Attorney General’s office, Slatery will now formally defend Tennessee’s attempt to transition to a Block Grant Medicaid system in a lawsuit by the Tennessee Justice Center.

Opponents of the amendment say that while the new system featuring all Medicaid funding being granted at once with adjustment each year may save money in the short term, the long term effects on budget and coverage quality may far outweigh the potential. Tennessee lawmakers claim the new system will allow the state more freedom to determine coverage and innovate, which is exactly what some critics fear.

“The proposal hinges on the ability of the state to generate massive savings, but it’s impossible to simultaneously achieve significant health savings and maintain or increase access to healthcare coverage, especially because they tout how lean our program already is,” states the Tennessee Justice Center’s info page on the matter. “Any comments outside of the proposal that claim it will cover more people are not reflected in the proposal. The promise that no enrollees or benefits will be cut is empty because they can (and have) erected administrative barriers for enrollment,  redetermination, and authorization of services.”

According to the release, the TJC filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in order to undo the approval of the state’s Block Grant request.

“The corporate plaintiffs behind this lawsuit, who consistently sue the State, are trying to stop a significant and beneficial policy reform for our state with a federal lawsuit filed in D.C.,” said Attorney General Slatery. “Our office is intervening to make sure Tennessee’s unique healthcare infrastructure is appropriately defended.”

To view the motion directly, click here.

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