Federal judge allows state to remove prisoners from TennCare

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal judge has agreed to let the state to drop prisoners off TennCare.

The agreement between the state and TennCare advocates will lead to an estimate 1,100 prisoners being dropped from the rolls. The state Correction Department is already responsible for providing health care to prisoners.

The inmates were kept on the state's expanded Medicaid program because of a 1987 ruling that banned the state from checking the eligibility of people who at one time qualified for a federal cash assistance program called Supplemental Security Income, or SSI.

U.S. District Judge John T. Nixon's ruling earlier this week does not affect the more than 150,000 non-prisoners who once qualified for SSI and remain on TennCare.

Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2005 cut about 170,000 adults from TennCare.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)