Ga. Medicaid Expansion Proposal Draws Some Support

One of Georgia’s leading Republicans on healthcare, Sen. Renee Unterman, wants the state to “re-examine” Medicaid expansion and look at possibly taking federal money to buy insurance for low-income people.

Democrats, like Sen. Nan Orrock of Atlanta, are on board with that.

“I think that, that is a pathway that the Republican controlled states are choosing. I think it’s less than the best option,” said Orrock.

Orrock said she’d rather see Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act.

Top Georgia Republicans, Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle didn’t comment Wednesday on Unterman’s proposal.

Republican-controlled states where Obamacare is unpopular such as Arkansas and Indiana have negotiated with the federal government so they can shape how Medicaid expansion would work.

Rep. Lee Hawkins of Gainsville, Georgia, is one Republican who agrees with Sen. Unterman’s plan, although he’s worried about cost.

“While that is a unique approach, it still creates a possible economic hardship for the state because there are state matching dollars involved with that,” said Hawkins, who is also the vice-chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Hawkins said he could only support taking more federal money if the state can pay to carry out the alternative  expansion plan.