Class-action suit filed over Tenn. Medicaid backlog
Tennessee residents who faced lengthy delays when they applied for Medicaid are now suing the state for failing to process their applications in a timely manner.
The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Nashville, claims that the backlog developed when the state began requiring residents to apply for the TennCare program through the federal health insurance marketplace HealthCare.gov, which was not designed to process Medicaid applications.
The class-action suit is backed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Health Law Program and the Tennessee Justice Center. The organizations filed the suit on behalf of residents they say have been left without coverage because of the processing lag.
A spokeswoman for the TennCare program said the agency did not see the suit until it was released to the media and could not comment.
The problems began Jan. 1, when local health department offices stopped accepting Medicaid applications and began directing patients to the federal exchange, said Sam Brooke, staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Although he stopped short of saying the state made the move to oppose Obamacare’s implementation, he said many Southern states have put up significant resistance to the Affordable Care Act.