Gov. Brian Kemp held a signing ceremony at the Georgia Capitol to mark the federal approval of a plan he says will help put insurance cards in the hands of residents who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to qualify for subsidies on the federal exchange.
The $218 million-per year plan aims to expand Medicaid coverage to about 50,000 of more than 400,000 uninsured Georgia adults who could be covered – if they satisfy a work or activity requirement. It is set to begin in July 2021 with the final piece taking effect in January 2023. In other states, Medicaid waivers have been successfully challenged in court.
The state’s own fiscal analysts determined that when savings from reduced state expenses after Medicaid expansion are factored in, the annual cost to the state budget is closer to $200 million, said Laura Harker, senior policy analyst with the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.
“It’s not as expensive as the governor has stated, to move forward with the full Medicaid expansion, and then compare it to the plans that are proposed,” Harker said. “Those plans, he said, would cost about $200 million. So you’re looking at a comparable level there as far as cost, but not covering nearly as many people.”