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Michele Johnson, Executive Director of the Tennessee Justice Center, said the following in response to the announcement from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) of the Healthy Adult Opportunity Initiative which provides guidance to states encouraging block grant waivers for the Medicaid expansion population:

“The block grant is an attempted solution to a political problem. By its nature, a block grant does not address the healthcare needs of people with pre-existing conditions, the overdose epidemic, or the rising uninsured rate. A major feature would eliminate retroactive coverage of medical expenses. There is nothing innovative about that0 because Tennessee has been without retroactive coverage for 25 years. We are living proof of why it’s a bad idea. It just exposes more families to medical bankruptcy. People on Medicaid often live paycheck to paycheck, and it is their pathway out of poverty. The proposal just degrades their Medicaid coverage. It does not address kitchen table issues that everyday families face.”