Georgia’s new health insurance reform plan will address three problems at once, Gov. Brian Kemp announced recently when he rolled out two insurance “waivers” approved by the federal government. The two waivers will allow the state to undertake a limited expansion of its Medicaid program and give Georgians with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid options outside the Affordable Care Act.
The state anticipates the Medicaid waiver will cost taxpayers an average of $218 million per year. A state Department of Audits and Accounts report last year that a full expansion of Medicaid – as 38 other states have done – would cost Georgia $213.2 million in fiscal 2022. Also, while the state’s Medicaid waiver is expected to cover about 65,000 Georgians, last year’s fiscal note asserted a full expansion – covering single adults with incomes up to 138% of the poverty level – would serve more than 500,000.
“You’re spending four times more per person with this waiver than you would with a [full] Medicaid expansion,” Laura Harker, health policy analyst for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said.