sunny.png
Sunday July 3rd, 2022 8:19PM

State House gives Kemp's Medicaid waiver plan final passage

By Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) Georgia's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp could soon have wide leeway in reshaping the state's health care system under a bill given final passage by the state House on Monday.

The measure authorizing Kemp's office to pursue a Medicaid waiver passed the House on a 104-67 vote, largely along partisan lines with Republicans in support.

A waiver will give Georgia the flexibility to expand Medicaid more conservatively than federal rules typically allow. The legislation also caps eligibility for any Medicaid expansion to those at or below the federal poverty level, limiting the number of Georgians who could be covered.

Georgia is one of 14 states that haven't fully expanded Medicaid under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. It called for Medicaid coverage for those making slightly above the federal poverty level.

In addition to the Medicaid waiver, the bill would allow for another waiver seeking to help stabilize prices on Georgia's private insurance markets.

Any waiver plan would need to be approved by the federal government.

Republicans arguing for the bill said the measure could lead to lower private insurance premiums and allow Georgia to customize a targeted health care plan.

Republican Rep. Jodi Lott of Evans, Kemp's floor leader in the House, said the bill would aim to provide health care options to Georgians below and above the federal poverty line.

``If you vote no to this legislation, we will still reevaluate Medicaid,'' Lott said. ``If you vote no to this legislation and it should fail, all that you're doing is stopping those within the coverage gap those that have remained uninsured from getting any assistance.''

Critics said the waiver plan leaves out low-income Georgians who fall slightly above the poverty line and would be covered under full Medicaid expansion. Lott responded that these people can still apply for federal exchange plans with subsidies.

Democrats remained unconvinced, saying that even subsidized health insurance plans like these come with costly co-pays and deductibles.

They worried that Kemp's waiver plan would cover fewer people and cost more than full Medicaid expansion, which they support.

House Minority leader Bob Trammell of Luthersville called the bill an ``abdication of legislative responsibility when it comes to health care policy.'' He worried the bill gives Kemp's office too much power over influencing Georgia's health care system.

``They don't have to come back to the General Assembly for further action,'' Trammell said. ``They can just set sail on whatever course they want.''

Democratic Rep. Kim Schofield of Atlanta said the hardest hit group would be Georgians working low and minimum-wage jobs, who are not offered health benefits and cannot afford private health insurance.

``Those supporting this bill may want us to take the crumbs they offered but I stand to tell you, sick people need the whole loaf,'' Schofield said.

Republican Rep. Ed Rynders of Albany hit back at Schofield's remarks, saying it was ``illogical'' to think that ``if I can't help them all, then I'm not helping anybody.''

Republican Rep. Trey Kelley of Cedartown agreed, saying, ``a reasonable vote today is to give coverage to the 250,000 Georgians who don't already have access to health insurance in our state today.''

Kemp applauded the bill's passage on Twitter, saying Georgia is ``one step closer to lowering insurance premiums, enhancing access to quality care and improving health care outcomes'' through a ``Georgia-centric health care system.'' 

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News, Politics
  • Associated Tags: 2019 legislative session , Georgia General Assembly , Medicaid waivers
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ex-Sen Ernest 'Fritz' Hollings of South Carolina dies at 97
Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, the Democrat who helped shepherd South Carolina through desegregation as governor and went on to six terms in the U.S. Senate, has died at 97
2:38AM ( 1 hour ago )
3D Life to hold annual clay shoot fundraiser in May
Three Dimensional Life (3D) will host its 3rd annual Shoot for Life on Friday, May 10, 2019 at 8 a.m. at Etowah Valley Sporting Clays in Dawsonville.
9:00PM ( 6 hours ago )
Sweep the Hooch collects more than 30 bags of trash from Lake Lanier, Chattahoochee River
Don Carter State Park participated in Sweep the Hooch, an event organized by the Chattahoochee Riverkeepers to clean up trash from the shorelines of Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River Saturday.
7:30PM ( 8 hours ago )
Local/State News
Gainesville officials: Engine 209 will stay where it is for now
Just before Christmas, it appeared Engine 209 might be removed from a small park area on the outskirts of the downtown Gainesville square, but according to a statement released by the city Thursday, the engine is staying where it is.
1:45PM ( 1 day ago )
Trump says he is recommending Herman Cain for Fed board
Trump says he is recommending former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain for Fed board
5:36PM ( 2 days ago )
Gainesville waits for Kemp signature on bills for hotel tax increase, takeover of Lake Lanier Olympic Park
HB 649 and HB 650 both passed the legislature on the final day of the 2019 legislative session.
1:32PM ( 2 days ago )
Politics
Georgia's 2019 legislative session: What didn't pass
Measures that failed in this year's session include enhanced penalties for hate crimes, greater protections for actions driven by religious belief, a state takeover of Atlanta's airport and a 20-year extension on a jet fuel tax exemption.
By Associated Press
10:00AM ( 17 hours ago )
Gainesville waits for Kemp signature on bills for hotel tax increase, takeover of Lake Lanier Olympic Park
HB 649 and HB 650 both passed the legislature on the final day of the 2019 legislative session.
1:32PM ( 2 days ago )
Gov. Kemp signs new touchscreen voting machines bill
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has quietly signed a wide-ranging elections bill authorizing the purchase of new touchscreen voting machines that print a paper ballot.
By Associated Press
12:05PM ( 2 days ago )
Last day of Georgia session: Marijuana, school safety plans
Tuesday marked the final day of Georgia's 2019 legislative session, and lawmakers worked until midnight making compromises and passing legislation.
By Associated Press
5:01AM ( 3 days ago )
Tuesday marks final day of 2019 Georgia legislative session
The final day of Georgia's 2019 legislative session has arrived.
By Associated Press
5:27AM ( 4 days ago )