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Georgia’s Medicaid Waiver Application Process Reaches Next Step

In the end, it will be Gov. Brian Kemp who'll decide what exactly goes into the waiver applications.
In the end, it will be Gov. Brian Kemp who'll decide what exactly goes into the waiver applications.
Credit John Amis / Associated Press
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An effort to expand Georgia’s Medicaid rolls is moving into its next phase.

An advisory board gathered Thursday in Atlanta to hear an update.

The consulting group Deloitte, which got a nearly $2 million contract to prepare Medicaid waivers for the state, painted a deficient picture of Georgia’s health insurance system.

Its numbers show 14.8 percent of Georgians are uninsured (compared to a national average of 10.5 percent) and the state ranks third in the nation when it comes to the number of rural hospitals at risk of closing.

The data was compiled using numbers from the Department of Insurance plus community and public health data, something Ryan Loke with the governor’s office says is unprecedented.

“It’s the first time that this has ever been done before and put together to paint a really strong picture of where Georgia’s healthcare system is,” said Loke. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity from that to grow.”

And now that the numbers are in, says Loke, the 47-member advisory group made up of lawmakers, medical professionals, health groups and health insurance companies can weigh in.

“Going forward, they would be able to inform their constituencies, organizations, etc., etc. of what’s going on the process, how they can get involved and ultimately provide some input to us on where we’re going,” said Loke.

In the end, it will be Gov. Brian Kemp who’ll decide what exactly goes into the waiver applications.

The goal is to bring more federal health care dollars to the state without fully expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The state plans to submit its waiver ideas by the end of the year.