Our state leaders have a new opportunity to support the health of Georgians across the state! Under the recently passed American Rescue Plan, Georgia is eligible to receive a sizable financial payment for finally expanding Medicaid. Medicaid expansion would bring peace of mind to more than 500,000 adults with low incomes who are uninsured or struggling to afford health coverage. This is a deal too good to pass up!
Through the American Rescue Plan, Georgia is eligible to receive a $1.3 Billion incentive for expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income adults. These savings could cover the costs of the Medicaid expansion program ($640 million over two years). The remainder ($710 million) could put towards other state priorities, like increased funding for schools or expanding broadband to marginalized communities.
Over half a million Georgians do not have meaningful access to health care because Georgia leaders have refused to expand Medicaid. With one move, our state could provide coverage to Georgia’s low-income families, speed up our state’s economic recovery after COVID-19, stabilize rural hospitals, reduce racial health disparities, and address top state priorities.
How the new federal Medicaid incentives work
The new federal law incentivizes Georgia to extend coverage to adults with low incomes (less than $17,775 for an individual or $36,570 for a family of four) by enhancing our state’s existing Medicaid program.
If Georgia leaders adopt this policy, the federal government will increase what it already pays for the state’s current Medicaid program by 5%. This deal would last for two years, earning Georgia an estimated $1.3 Billion.
After the initial deal ends, Georgia would only have to cover 10% of program costs in the future.
Each year, our state misses out on $3 Billion dollars that Georgia leaders refuse to close the coverage gap, meaning the federal government keeps our tax dollars. The new American Rescue Plan incentive is an unprecedented opportunity to bring Georgia’s tax dollars home to cover Georgians.
Why the time for Georgia to expand Medicaid is right now!
Gov. Kemp has spent the last two years developing and promoting the Georgia Pathways plan, a proposal that would cover only a fraction of the people who would be covered by expansion and would cost three times more per person. The plan has recently been put on hold by federal health officials. The timing for a final decision about the Pathways plan from the federal government is unclear.
In the meantime, Georgia’s low-income adults have gone through a pandemic without coverage, our state’s health system has struggled to keep pace with demand, and other critical issues for Georgia families have emerged.
Medicaid expansion and the additional funding available could help our state address these issues. Thousands of essential workers in our state could gain coverage. The jump in newly insured patients would bolster doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. The leftover savings could be used for priorities such as restoring cuts to education funding so Georgia schools are fully resourced. The savings could also be used to strengthen our rural broadband or public health systems, expand workforce development programs, enhance public safety, or pay for many other state priorities.
Medicaid expansion is the best investment our state can make for all Georgia residents. Medicaid expansion is a bridge to a better, healthier Georgia, but we need to take action now! Tell Governor Kemp and your state legislators that Medicaid expansion is a deal too good to pass up!
Georgia is one of 14 states eligible for the new incentive. They include Missouri and Oklahoma, which have approved expansion by referendum but haven’t implemented it yet. The remaining 11 states, located mainly in the South, have not yet moved to expand Medicaid. Those states are Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.