Concerns linger over Tennessee's block grant proposal

Posted at 10:45 PM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 23:45:19-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Concerns are still lingering over Tennessee's block grant program proposal - a plan to overhaul the state's healthcare system.

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Medical Association said there just aren't enough specifics in this plan to know if it's good.

Their concern is that the state would reduce TennCare funding, meaning it would have to purge some of the state's most vulnerable residents from getting coverage.

Currently, there are about 1.5 million residents who rely on TennCare for their health coverage. It's Tennessee's version of medicaid.

This block grant proposal would mean the state just gets a giant chunk of change from the feds - more than $8 billion. But it's unclear if people would lose coverage, and there are concerns that might not be enough money depending on costs.

NewsChannel 5 sat down with Dr. Melinda Buntin from Vanderbilt University.

"I would like to see some concrete goals for this waiver. I would love to see TennCare say we want to improve infant mortality or improve outcomes for kids with asthma or set concrete goals if they got this waiver amendment approved, said Dr. Buntin,

No other state in the country has moved forward with this kind of block grant program to help fund medicaid programs. Public comment on the plan ends Friday.