May 6, 2019

Medicaid block grants move forward in Tennessee

Tennessee is plowing ahead with its plan to become the first state to adopt Medicaid block grants, but there's no guarantee that the Trump administration will end up playing along.

Driving the news: The state legislature on Friday passed a bill authorizing the new financing structure, and Republican Gov. Bill Lee is expected to sign it.

Details, via Nashville Public Radio: Tennessee's block-grant proposal would lock in the current rate of federal Medicaid funding — which could be a problem if either enrollment or costs ever increase.

  • The Lee administration would have to negotiate the details with federal officials, but the state legislature would have to approve whatever they work out.

Yes, but: The Trump administration has urged states on in a handful of efforts to roll back Medicaid, and block grants would be the most aggressive of those efforts by far. But it hasn’t yet provided a clear framework about what it believes it can approve, within its legal authority — meaning all of this could still fizzle out.

Go deeper: Red states' Medicaid gamble: Paying more to cover fewer people

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