Feds to Gov: ‘We Owe You, But Can’t Pay Without an Act of Congress’

On a day when he met with his health and wellness task force, Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday lamented the predicament the federal government has put Tennessee in on $82 million in TennCare funds.
Excerpt from Mike Morrow’s TNReport:
First, the feds said they goofed and owed the state the money due to an accounting error. Now, they say they owe the money but that it might take an act of Congress to release the funds, creating a delay. Haslam isn’t happy.
…The Haslam administration originally had planned for an 8.5 percent reduction for certain providers in TennCare in the state budget. But while a 4.25 percent reduction was put in place beginning this July 1, the rest was postponed to Jan. 1, 2012, since the state expected the funds to come from Washington.
Paired with better-than-expected revenues at the time, the state was able to dodge a financial bullet when it amended the original budget plan this year.
But now, with the delay, the other 4.25 percent in cuts will apparently be applied. Haslam referred twice to the amount Monday as about “4 and a half percent,” but an aide pointed out it is the 4.25 percent.
“It’s just wrong that they say, ‘We owe that to you, but we can’t pay you ’till we pass new legislation,'” Haslam said.
Further, Haslam isn’t confident the state will get its money.
“I’m really not. I wish I was,” he said. “What they had told us last spring was, ‘Definitely we owe it to you. We’ll figure out a way to get that money to you.’ And then the message came back last week, ‘Well, actually, we don’t think we can get it to you without specific legislation.’
“And I think in today’s Washington, specific legislation to send money away out of the federal government to us, even though it’s owed to us, I think will be difficult.”

One thought on “Feds to Gov: ‘We Owe You, But Can’t Pay Without an Act of Congress’

  1. Eric Holcombe

    “Further, Haslam isn’t confident the state will get its money.”
    Isn’t this the same federal government we have sucked up to for Race To The Trough and Common Core State Standards (in exchange for our NCLB waiver)?
    How confident are we on that money?

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