Kelly McCutchen, president and CEO, Georgia Public Policy Foundation
Most of Georgia has a situation where they’re one press conference from an insurance company away from not having anyone in the exchanges to buy insurance from. So there are fundamental changes that need to be made. Congress has got to step up and do their job.
There may be compromises that need to be made, but that’s what we put them there for. Whether it’s working with Democrats or getting the Republican caucus together, they need to come up with a plan, work it out with the House and the White House, and get something passed to give the states some relief and give individuals an ability to buy health care at affordable prices.
The great news about the lack of action in Washington is we didn’t really have to have them pass anything for Georgia to move ahead with a (state innovation) waiver. With Tom Price at Health and Human Services, who is begging states to send him innovative ideas, this is a golden opportunity for Georgia to take control of health care, address our problems in our unique way and I think make some outstanding progress in health care.
Right now, Medicaid expansion is funded with 90 percent federal dollars. That’s going to be cut back. Right now, Georgia and other Medicaid programs get 67 percent federal funding. But for states — unlike Georgia — states that expanded Medicaid to cover more poor adults get that 90 percent federal contribution. I think it’s terribly unfair that we take the Medicaid expansion population, which is able-bodied, working-age individuals, and we’re funding them at 90 percent and then we only have 67 percent funding for pregnant women, children, the elderly and disabled. I don’t know how you can justify that. So we need to start out with 67 percent funding. That’s sustainable.