Ga. Gov. Signals Willingness To Discuss Medicaid Expansion Compromise

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicaid administrator) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Medicaid, States, Health Reform, Politics

Aug 30, 2012

After the Georgia governor seemed to rule out Medicaid expansion in a convention speech, a spokesman qualified that it might change if the state had options not now on the table.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Deal’s Medicaid Decision Could Put Hospitals At Risk
Gov. Nathan Deal‘s decision to reject the expansion of Medicaid prescribed by the Affordable Care Act would leave thousands of the poorest Georgians uninsured and threaten the bottom lines of hospitals that were counting on new income from the changes. … Word of Deal’s decision set off a wave of anxiety among hospital officials and patient advocates in the state, with one saying that the governor is “certainly putting hospitals at risk,” and another calling the decision a mistake. “I have diabetics who lose legs because they do not get wound care or get to see a podiatrist,” said Carole Maddux, CEO of Good Samaritan Health & Wellness Center in Pickens County. “These are people who will be applying for disability and going on Social Security. … They were perfectly healthy, contributing members of society before that. It’s very short-sighted” (Teegardin, 8/30).

Georgia Health News: Medicaid Expansion: Room For Compromise?
The door may not be closed on a Georgia Medicaid expansion after all. Gov. Nathan Deal had appeared to rule out expanding Medicaid while speaking Tuesday to the media in Tampa at the Republican National Convention. “No, I do not have any intentions of expanding Medicaid,” Deal said, according to the AJC. “I think that is something our state cannot afford.” Deal spokesman Brian Robinson, though, told the Associated Press, “Today, the governor said if the state’s only options remain the ones that are available today, he would oppose taking part in the expanded Medicaid program.” Robinson, asked by Georgia Health News on Wednesday to clarify his remarks, said in an email that the governor would reassess his expansion decision if Medicaid were changed to a “block grant” approach (Miller, 8/29).

Politico Pro: Medicaid Opt-Outs Could Ding Employers
It’s not just hospitals who stand to take a financial hit if states don’t fully expand their Medicaid programs. Employers could find themselves the subject of some collateral damage, too. If Congressional Budget Office projections are correct, about 3 million more low-income individuals will be added to health insurance exchanges — rather than Medicaid — as a result of the Supreme Court decision making the Medicaid expansion optional. That means there will be a larger group of low-income people who could trigger the Affordable Care Act’s employer penalty (Millman, 8/29).

Meanwhile in other state Medicaid news —

Miami Herald: 1.6 Million Floridians Would Get Health Care If Medicaid Is Expanded
Almost 1.6 million Floridians making less than $15,372 a year were not covered by health insurance in 2010 and would be eligible for Medicaid if the state went along with a controversial expansion of the program under President Barack Obama’s health care law. Some of those people would be newly eligible for coverage under the law, while others already qualify for Medicaid but have not signed up. Gov. Rick Scott has said the state will not go along with an optional expansion of Medicaid eligibility, at least in part because of potential costs (Peltier, 8/29).

Los Angeles Times: Medi-Cal Recipients Warned They Could Lose Day Health Care Benefit
State health care officials are warning certain Medi-Cal recipients that they are in danger of losing their ability to attend adult day health care centers, where they receive nursing care, social services and meals. To continue receiving the benefit, officially called Community-Based Adult Services, eligible Medi-Cal beneficiaries must be in managed care, according to state officials. Nevertheless, thousands of eligible patients have opted out of managed care, said Jane Ogle, a deputy director at the California Department of Health Care Services (Gorman, 8/29).

Sacramento Bee: Dentists Say Cal Expo Clinic Illustrates Care Gap
The two-day, massive free dental clinic at Cal Expo over the weekend yielded more than 2,000 tooth extractions and just as many lessons learned. California Dental Association officials say each extraction is further evidence that the state’s decisions in 2009 to eliminate adult Denti-Cal services and shut down a schools-based dental disease prevention program are having dire consequences. When the state wiped out virtually all adult Denti-Cal benefits — California’s version of Medicaid’s dental coverage — nearly 3 million people were stripped of oral health coverage (Craft, 8/30).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.


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