NASHVILLE, TN – Today, Gov. Bill Lee signed the Medicaid block grant waiver into law over patient advocacy groups' objections. Emily Ogden, director of government relations in Tennessee for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), made the following statement in reaction.
"For months, ACS CAN and other patient advocacy groups have voiced their concerns and objections to the approval of Tennessee's Medicaid 1115 Research and Demonstration waiver. This waiver will add additional barriers to health insurance coverage and lifesaving therapies critical to individuals and their families with lower incomes, including those with cancer, cancer survivors and those who will be diagnosed with the disease.
"The TennCare III waiver will cap the amount of federal funds available to the state to run Tennessee's TennCare program. Implementation of this policy will reduce TennCare enrollees' access to lifesaving care, including cancer treatments.
"Even as we face this global pandemic, 41,980 Tennesseans will hear the words "you have cancer" this year. Research has proven that individuals without health insurance are more likely than those with insurance to be diagnosed with cancer at a later stage when it is more costly to treat, and individuals are less likely to survive.
"As an organization dedicated to saving lives and improving access to care, ACS CAN finds this action taken by state lawmakers and Gov. Lee unconscionable."
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society's nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.