January 8, 2021

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Following the announcement of new block grant funding for the Medicaid program TennCare, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R—Tenn.) issued the following statement.

“Tennessee is a proven leader to deliver better quality health care for the most vulnerable Americans. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approval of their block grant application is an important recognition of our leadership.

“Medicaid is an important program that provides health care to the most vulnerable Americans, including low-income individuals, and families, and people with disabilities. Although it consumes an ever-larger share of spending at both the federal and state levels, health outcomes remain poor for enrollees. Poor outcomes can be attributed to inefficiencies as well as burdensome rules governing Medicaid, which limit the ability to design and manage the program in ways that reflect the diversity of those who are enrolled and the unique needs of each state.

“Additionally, the current funding mechanism of Medicaid is dysfunctional and leads to wasteful practices. For many years, the Government Accountability Office has named Medicaid a ‘high risk’ [for fraud] program. It is time to change the dynamics of the program so that it works for the people it was intended to help without breaking the bank.

“Tennessee has shown great leadership by applying for a block grant for the Medicaid program known as TennCare. The state has opted to have the federal government provide a consistent sum that is not dependent upon complicated matching formulas. Those responsible for the state budget will have a clear idea about the amount of funds available for the program. More transparency and accountability will guide the program into a new era, one that features less fraud, fewer gimmicks, and better care by Tennesseans for Tennesseans.” — U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R—Tenn.)