Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Seema Verma, administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced today that the federal government will approve Georgia’s healthcare waiver requests, both for Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Kyle Wingfield, President and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, released this statement in response:
The Foundation has worked for years on policies that would enable all Georgians and their families to have a say in their healthcare options and affordability. The federal waivers approved today are an important step in the right direction. They hold enormous promise for every Georgian to find the quality, affordable healthcare option that best fits their needs.
Even better, the ACA waiver provides an opportunity for Georgia to go further than any state in the nation: allowing Georgia consumers to choose among a greater number of plans, and not be limited to the costly offerings on the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov. This will open the door to greater competition and more options, and set a national example for other states to build upon. The reinsurance pool will lower insurance rates for millions of Georgians by an estimated average of 10%.
The Medicaid waiver, meanwhile, will increase Medicaid eligibility to a max of 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and include an employment-related requirement for these newly eligible, able-bodied adults. “Skin in the game” is an important component of personal responsibility and individual initiative, so that this coverage is a hand up, not a handout. A budget cap ensures the cost of this program does not balloon out of control, while still affording a new opportunity to as many as 50,000 Georgians at a time.
We look forward to Georgia blazing a trail in these much-needed healthcare reforms, which will benefit millions of Georgians.