Over the past few days, we’ve documented the many benefits that national health care reform has already brought to Georgia. If the Supreme Court upholds the law, Georgians will see a substantial increase in the benefits when the law is fully implemented in 2014. More families and individuals will have access to affordable health coverage thanks to the Medicaid expansion and the creation of health insurance exchanges to help Georgians purchase private coverage. Together, these steps will dramatically reduce the number of people who go without needed care, struggle to pay medical bills or head to emergency rooms as a last resort.
A recent GBPI report highlights several ways the Affordable Care Act is already providing benefits to Georgia and its residents. Thousands of hard-to-insure Georgians are now able to get coverage, and Georgians with long-term care needs have new resources to turn to.
In 2014, Georgia can look forward to a fuller range of benefits. Among the most significant:
- Medicaid will expand to serve hundreds of thousands of low-income Georgians who are currently left out of program. Federal funds will pay nearly all of the costs, with Georgia spending a mere 3 percent more on Medicaid from 2014 to 2020.The vast majority of the people who will be newly covered would otherwise be unable to get coverage anywhere else. This expansion will ease the burden on health-care providers who often care for patients who don’t have insurance and never get paid for that care. Many more Georgians will receive routine medical care that can better control chronic conditions and keep them out of the emergency rooms in the first place.
- New competitive insurance marketplaces, called exchanges, will be created to increase coverage options for middle-income Georgians. The exchanges will encourage competition among insurers and allow consumers to compare plans and choose coverage that best fits their needs. Federal tax credits will help make health insurance affordable for consumers shopping on the exchange.
All in all, the new coverage options becoming available in 2014 will enable most of the nearly 2 million Georgians who currently lack insurance to get affordable health care. Georgia’s health care providers will be better equipped to serve new patients and the health care system as a whole will run more efficiently. That will help ensure a healthy workforce, which will benefit Georgia employers and the state’s economy.
Affordable Care Act Benefits Georgia (Policy Report)
New Health Care Law Good for Georgians and Their Wallets (Press Release)