Tennessee has asked the federal government for permission to make significant changes to the way it funds and operates the state's modified Medicaid program, TennCare. Those changes would impose work or community service requirements for TennCare eligibility, and move TennCare's federal funding to a block grant model.
Supporters of the changes say the work requirements would encourage employment, and that block grants would give states greater flexibility in tailoring Medicaid to each state's need. Opponents point out most Medicaid recipients already do work, and those that don't are typically children, the elderly and the disabled; and that block grants could lead to cuts in benefits, services and coverage eligibility.
In this edition of HealthConnections, Dr. Carole Myers looks at where Tennessee's request stands, and what we've learned from similar measures that have already been implemented in other states.