Tennessee lawmakers hope to institute work requirements for TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, after new guidelines
were issued Thursday from the Trump Administration.
Tennessee General Assembly House Speaker Rep. Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Rep. Dan Howell (R-Georgetown) announced legislation seeking the change only hours after a letter with the new guidelines was issued from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
“Such programs should be designed to promote better mental, physical, and emotional health in furtherance of Medicaid program objectives,” said Brian Neale, CMS deputy administrator and director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. “Such programs may also, separately, be designed to help individuals and families rise out of poverty and attain independence, also in furtherance of Medicaid program objectives.”
The new guideline allows states to require Medicaid recipients to work, volunteer, or participate in job training, according to a news release from Harwell’s office Thursday. The Tennessee bill seeks a waiver “imposing reasonable work requirements on able-bodied, working-age adult enrollees without dependent children under the age of six years old.”
“This is exactly the type of flexibility states have been asking for the last several years, and I appreciate the Trump Administration handing that power back to the states,” Harwell said in a statement. “This legislation is about lifting people out of poverty, while still providing the support needed for Tennesseans to be successful and prosperous. I am grateful to Rep. Howell agreeing to carry this important bill through the legislative process.”
Read the bill here