Tennessee close to advancing Medicaid block grant bill

Friday, April 26, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 17

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers are inching closer to advancing a proposal that would significantly change how the state provides health care to its lower-income and disabled residents.

The GOP-controlled Senate on Tuesday voted 24-5 on a measure requiring the state's top leaders to call on the federal government to send a fixed amount of money each year in the form of block grants.

The bill now goes to the House to approve last-minute changes.

Supporters argue the move allows Tennessee to better manage its Medicaid program. Critics counter it'll open up opportunities to cut services.

Currently, the federal government pays an agreed-upon percentage of each state's Medicaid costs, no matter how much they rise in any given year. Tennessee receives approximately $7.5 billion in federal money for its $12.1 billion Medicaid program.