Articles Tagged with “Medicaid expansion”

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On March 25, 2019, the Georgia State House passed a bill paving the way for a limited Medicaid expansion. The Senate Bill 106 passed the Georgia House by a 104-67 vote, sending the bill to Governor Brian Kemp for his signature. The support for this bill came mostly from Republicans, with only six Democrats voting for it. This legislation has two parts to it. First, one waiver involves adding individuals to the Medicaid rolls. The second part allows Georgia to reorganize the state’s health insurance exchange, created by the Affordable Care Act for those without coverage from their employers or government program.   

Many Democrats argued that a complete expansion of Medicaid is necessary to cover hundreds of thousands of Georgians and to help rural hospitals. Rep. David Dreyer (D-Atlanta) argued that this legislation, as opposed to full Medicaid expansion, would “cover 200,000 less people, and we would likely be paying more.” However, Rep. Butch Parrish (R-Swainsboro) argued that this bill is “a step in the right direction that will improve health care and access in this state.” This limited expansion of Medicaid will likely help some individuals in Georgia with disabilities. It will be important to watch in the coming weeks and months the impact of this legislation. 

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Medicaid expansion.jpgNow that the election is over, and we know that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay, Georgia must decide whether it intends to expand its Medicaid program. This summer, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional, but left open the possibility for states to opt out of expanding their Medicaid program.

Budget analysts predict that the cost of Medicaid expansion in Georgia will be $1.8 billion over the next ten years. That is a 4.1% increase in spending. Georgia currently has approximately $1.9 million uninsured citizens. Of those, about 700,000 would be eligible for Medicaid.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has opposed expansion, although he now seems to be weighing his options. Governor Deal has indicated that he would support a “block grant.” A block grant would allow the federal government to deposit a set amount of funds to Georgia for Medicaid coverage with no corresponding state contribution. Currently, there is no federal congressional authority for block grants. Governor Deal argues that the state cannot afford an expansion of the program and does not have the funds now or in the future. Currently, Georgia is running a deficit on Medicaid financing.