Tennessee Medicaid block grant plan heads for federal review

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee officials say they’re committing not to halt or limit coverage under a revised proposal to become the first state to receive funding in a lump sum for its Medicaid program, TennCare.

The block grant plan heading for federal consideration Wednesday was amended to say the state “would not be permitted to use this authority to make reductions to its benefits package.”

Though Republican Gov. Bill Lee assured that patients wouldn’t risk losing benefits or eligibility, the first draft elicited overwhelming concern about possible cuts to those areas.

The submitted version also says possible state savings could be used to expand TennCare eligibility.

The federal government will now consider the $7.9 billion plan. If the parties negotiate an agreement, state lawmakers get a final vote. Legal challenges likely will follow.

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