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Medicaid Expansion: Why Georgia Should Pursue an Alternative

January 1, 2014
By Georgia Public Policy Foundation

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) expanded Medicaid to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). The U.S.

stethoscope and insurance docs

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) expanded Medicaid to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, however, that states are not mandated to expand Medicaid coverage. As of January 2014, Georgia and 23 other states had chosen not to expand Medicaid.

Although most reports have indicated 650,000 uninsured individuals are impacted by Georgia’s Medicaid expansion decision, approximately 240,000 have incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the FPL and are eligible for subsidies in the exchange because Georgia refused to expand Medicaid. That leaves about 410,000 who have incomes below the poverty level but are not currently eligible for Medicaid or other subsidies. The Medicaid expansion debate revolves around how best to ensure access to health care for these individuals.

The challenges of expanding Medicaid eligibility include uncertainty regarding funding and costs, questions regarding the effectiveness of the Medicaid program and the impact on existing Medicaid recipients.

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