By Consumers For Quality Care, on January 12, 2021
For Immediate Release
January 12, 2021
The waiver threatens access to care for Tennessee’s most vulnerable, sets dangerous precedent
Washington D.C. – Consumers for Quality Care (CQC), a coalition of health care advocates, released the following statement in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) approval of Tennessee’s Medicaid 1115 Research and Demonstration waiver. The waiver allows Tennessee to reduce access to quality and affordable health care for residents enrolled in the TennCare program and sets a dangerous precedent.
“Since its inception, Medicaid has been designed to provide access to quality health care coverage for Americans who need it most. This dangerous experiment runs directly counter to this intent and will certainly prove catastrophic for the most vulnerable Tennesseans.
“We are deeply concerned about the impact this disastrous decision will have on the 1.4 million Tennesseans who rely on Medicaid, including children, pregnant women and individuals with disabilities. The approval and implementation of this waiver will limit coverage, restrict treatment options and prescription drug access and remove important federal safeguards that set standards for things like adequate networks, which ensure patients can see the right doctors and receive the care they need.
“Despite a pandemic that has shed light on the importance of Medicaid and of diagnosing and treating underlying conditions, CMS is allowing Tennessee to limit access to the life-saving services afforded by the program, and we fear other states may soon follow. Now more than ever, Americans deserve the security of a strong Medicaid program.
“Furthermore, with a new process underway from CMS that would require a nine-month process to roll back state Medicaid waivers, Tennesseans may be stuck with these changes for far too long.
“We urge Congress to swiftly put an end to these dangerous experiments being waged by states across the country and protect our nation’s most vulnerable.”
CQC has been vocal in its opposition to the harmful proposal. In 2019, CQC along with Allergy & Asthma Network, Consumer Action, First Focus on Children, MANA, A National Latina Organization, and Patient Power submitted a comment letter to the state voicing concerns about the proposal and CQC board member Jason Resendez published an op-ed in The Tennessean outlining how this dangerous experiment would restrict provider options and reduce services for TennCare enrollees, all while giving the state discretion over the funding meant to serve Tennessee’s most vulnerable.
Consumers for Quality Care (CQC) is a coalition of advocates and former policy makers working to provide a voice for patients in the health care debate as they demand better care. CQC is led by a board of directors that includes the Honorable Donna Christensen, physician and former Member of Congress; Jim Manley, former senior advisor to Senators Edward Kennedy and Harry Reid; and Jason Resendez, community advocate and health care strategist.
To learn more about Consumers for Quality Care and the issues consumers are experiencing, visit www.consumers4qualitycare.org.