New Revenue Needed To Invest in Medicaid

Posted by Timothy Sweeney

Today at the Department of Community Health Board meeting, the state failed to outline how it would address its funding shortfall and instead chose to blame the federal government’s lack of “flexibility” for funding issues facing Medicaid and PeachCare programs.

But blaming the federal government for the state’s budget woes is an effort to avoid the reality that Georgia’s revenue system is outdated and does not allow adequate investment in healthcare, education, and transportation.

Georgia already has substantial flexibility in how it delivers services to Georgians enrolled in Medicaid, the vast majority of whom are children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities. What Georgia cannot do is kick people off coverage nor dramatically reduce the services Medicaid provides; if this is the type of flexibility the department wants, it should say so.

The state has spent more than a year trying to develop a plan to “Redesign” Georgia’s Medicaid program to improve outcomes, increase efficiency, and save money. But as the commissioner noted today, Georgia’s Medicaid program is already very lean in terms of the services delivered. The reality is that Georgia likely needs to increase investment in Medicaid and PeachCare in order to improve efficiency and health outcomes, which could potentially generate savings in the long term.

Georgia already spends less per-enrollee than nearly every state in the U.S., faces the 2nd-highest childhood obesity epidemic of any state, and has the 5th-highest rate of residents without health insurance. Instead of blaming Washington for Georgia’s shortcomings and searching for ways to cut services for some of our most vulnerable residents, Georgia’s leaders should seek new state revenues to invest in key priorities like the health of the state’s residents.

 

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4 thoughts on “New Revenue Needed To Invest in Medicaid”

  1. How about stopping all of the emergency room abuse. People come to the ER instead of seeing their PCP. This happens all the time. Put a watch dog in place to ensure people are using their medicaid responsibly.

    1. High Emergency room use in the Medicaid population reflects a larger health care problem than just the patient. Many systems are outdated to track and trend high ER use in order to be more proactive in preventing it; lack of access in rural areas, and many physicians are opting out of accepting Medicaid, just to name a few. And as the blogger has mentioned, the need to invest in a more robust system. If GA continues to make health care the last priority, it will cost more than what it would actually spend expanding medicaid over the next ten years, which is a whopping 1% increase in spending over 10 years.

  2. charles wahlquist

    Governor Deal,
    Your decision to not expand Medicaid is shameful.

    There are several reasons why government is essential and your administration appears to be trying to make itself useless in all of them.

    You have now added indifference to those who most need assistance to the numerous negatives already massing to further depress our economy and our standard of living.

    I say this as an employed voter who does not believe your efforts to continuously lower my taxes will benefit Georgia or my family in the long run.

    Georgia was once a marginally attractive state to live in.
    I believe your administrations failures will relegate our state to a has been backwater that has no appeal to new residents and poor hope of competing with our neighboring states.

  3. Pingback: Medicaid Expansion Would Benefit Georgia Parents and Other Adults Without Insurance | Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

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