A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Cincinnati, reversed two lower court rulings that had delayed Tennessee's plan to drop more than 300,000 enrollees from TennCare, the state's expansive Medicaid program. The appeals court said the January rulings by the U.S. District Court in Nashville mistakenly applied 6th Circuit precedent, federal law and a consent decree on TennCare to a case brought by patient advocates against the state. The appeals court said its order was premised on the state not proceeding for at least two weeks with notices to enrollees that they will be dropped from the program and the state's agreement to tell the advocates two days before it sends out the notices, allowing them time to seek an injunction. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen's plan to cut TennCare enrollment is part of an overhaul aimed at reducing the program's annual $8 billion budget, $2.54 billion of which comes from the state. The overhaul also sets some limits on physician visits, hospitalization and prescription drugs. -- by Vince Galloro
Court says TennCare enrollment cuts may proceed
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