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Friday Five: Tennessee first state to ask administration for Medicaid block grant funding

In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about the ACE KIDS Act, potential changes to SNAP benefits in Texas, how states can prepare for the current and future impacts of an aging population, Tennessee’s waiver request for a block grant, and how government can improve the customer experience.

1. A boost for medically complex children on Medicaid

Until this April, children on Medicaid with complex medical issues couldn’t receive care at out-of-state hospitals, even if they were closer or it was the best option for care. Seattle Times  reports that the passage of the bipartisan Advancing Care for Kids (ACE KIDS) bill changed that. Now, medically complex children on Medicaid will have increased access to pediatric providers and better care coordination.

2. No candy. No chips. Texas bill would prevent SNAP recipients from using food stamps to buy junk food

A proposed bill in Texas would eliminate the purchase of junk food items using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. USA Today outlines the details of the bill as SNAP would no longer pay for chips, candy, cookies, or sweetened and/or carbonated drinks. The bill would go into effect this fall, if passed by the legislature.

3. 7 maps that tell the incredible story of aging in America

The population is aging, but not evenly. Fast Company presents a series of maps that show how different parts of the country are currently and are expected to continue to have a larger percentage of their population become elderly individuals. Knowing anticipated population changes can help states prepare for economic, healthcare, or lifestyle impacts.

4. Tennessee will ask Trump to ok first Medicaid block grant

Tennessee will submit a Medicaid waiver requesting a lump-sum block grant. Politico reports it is unclear whether the Trump administration will approve such a waiver, which would be the first of its kind. Proponents say a block grant would help the state better manage its program and have more flexibility, while opponents argue it will force cuts in enrollment and benefits.

5. The citizen is always right

In this NextGov blog post, the author lays out steps companies and the government can take to become more customer focused. They include giving employees the tools they need to be responsive, finding out where technology can help, thinking outside of the box, and building trust with citizens.