Tennessee is set to become the first state to transition its Medicaid program to a block grant; a federal judge has blocked cuts to Medicare rates for 340B hospitals but did not grant permanent injunction; Senator Elizabeth Warren has unviled a plan to combat the opioid epidemic that would spend $100 billion over 10 years.
Governor Bill Lee, R-Tennessee, is expected to sign legislation requesting approval from the Trump administration to turn the state’s Medicaid program into a block grant, according to The Wall Street Journal. If approved, Tennessee would become the first state to make the transition. While supporters of the move say that the grants would give states more flexibility to try novel ideas that may increase coverage or lower costs and is a better way to control Medicaid spending, opponents argue that the switch would challenge Medicaid’s guarantee of coverage for eligible low-income and disabled adults because of the fixed funding amounts.A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s 340B Medicare rate cuts for hospitals, ruling that the decreased rates aren’t lawful for 2018 and 2019. But, according to Modern Healthcare, the judge did not grant hospitals a permanent injunction against the cuts and instead ordered HHS to try out a remedial measure and to provide a status update on August 5. The judge said that eliminating the rule would wreak havoc on Medicare and that HHS can’t add to the department’s expenses.Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday released a $100 billion plan to combat the opioid epidemic over 10 years. The plan, which is an expansion of the CARE Act that she introduced last year in the Senate, would include changes to Medicaid and expanded access to medication-assisted treatment. The New York Times reported that, as she unveiled her plan, Warren also announced that she would donate the $4500 in campaign contributions she had received from the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, and called for Harvard University to remove the family name from all campus buildings.