CLASP Responds to TennCare III Project Approved Special Terms and Conditions

By Suzanne Wikle

The Medicaid statute is clear: the purpose of the program is to furnish medical assistance to individuals whose incomes are not enough to meet the costs of necessary medical care, including the services necessary to those individuals attaining or retaining their capacity for independence and selfcare. This proposed waiver from the state of Tennessee would result in parents losing needed coverage, poor health outcomes, and higher administrative costs. Though states are allowed in limited circumstances to request to “waive” provisions of the rule, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) may only approve a project which is “likely to assist in promoting the objectives” of the Medicaid Act. A waiver that does not promote the provision of affordable health care would not be permissible. The approval of this amendment is therefore inconsistent with the Medicaid purpose of providing medical assistance and should be reevaluated and rejected.