Health care advocacy organization says federal budget plan would cost Georgia billions

A health care advocacy organization says Georgia will lose nearly $86 billion dollars in tax credits and federal funding for Medicaid and Medicare under budget legislation passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives. An analysis by Families USA says the cuts would occur over the next decade. The plan was put forward by Republican Representative Paul Ryan.

The advocacy organization says Georgia would be hit the hardest by the portion of the budget plan that eliminates Medicaid’s expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Ron Pollack is executive director of the Families USA:

“Georgia does not have one of the most generous eligibility standards in Medicaid that would significantly be changed as a result of the affordable care act … By losing that through this budget, Georgia loses disproportionately to other states.”

But the Georgia Department of Community Health recently estimated the Medicaid expansion would cost the state $2.4 billion dollars in increased costs between 2014 and 2020.

Families USA is also concerned Georgia would lose money because the budget plan converts Medicaid into a block grant program. That change would also give states more control over how the Medicaid money is spent.  In a statement, Governor Nathan Deal says he supports efforts to give states flexibility in how they spend their Medicaid dollars. He says it will be a critical element if states see a reduction in Medicaid funding.