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Read more below about why Medicaid expansion in Georgia is imperative.
Medicaid expansion is a good deal - COVER GEORGIA!
Through the Affordable Care Act, Georgia has the opportunity to expand Medicaid to cover low-income Americans with incomes at or below 138% of the poverty level, with the federal government covering most of the costs. But Governor Deal has announced that he does not intend to move forward with the expansion. We believe Medicaid Expansion is crucial for Georgia because:
Georgians need help getting health insurance. Georgia has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country. In 2010, 27% of Georgia adults 18-64, and 52% of Georgia adults with incomes below 139% of the federal poverty level lacked health insurance.
Treatment of the uninsured puts a financial strain on Georgia hospitals - and even the insured patients who rely on them. People without health insurance still get sick or hurt (just like everyone else!). In 2010, care for the uninsured cost Georgia hospitals more than $1.3 billlion. It's estimated that insured families pay $1,000 a year in higher premiums to help cover these costs.
Medicaid expansion will promote health and save lives. By extending coverage to 650,000 low-income, uninsured residents, Medicaid expansion will help Georgians get preventative services and will improve health outcomes. Recent research suggests a Medicaid expansion in Georgia could actually prevent over 3,600 deaths per year - about 10 deaths per day.
Medicaid expansion makes fiscal sense. If we don't expand Medicaid in Georgia, $36 billion of hard-earned Georgia federal tax dollars will be spent in other states. If we accept these funds, the federal government will cover more than 90% of the cost of the Medicaid expansion, and Georgia will get tremendous value for its relatively small contribution. Medicaid expansion could also save money on other state & local programs (i.e. safety net hospitals, mental health services).
Medicaid expansion is good for the Georgia economy. Medicaid expansion is expected to bring $36 billion in direct federal funds to the state and have a cumulative impact of $72 billion on the economy over the next 10 years. Since poor health is the most common reason to miss work, and since medical bills are the leading cause of bankrupcy, Medicaid expansion could also play a role in maintaining the health of the workforce, preventing medical bankruptcies, and even preventing related foreclosures. A healthy Georgia is a properous Georgia.