Medicaid Expansion Supporters Lobby At Georgia’s Capitol

A coalition that’s been pushing for Georgia to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act lobbied at the state Capitol Tuesday. The groups say too many Georgians are falling into a coverage gap for health insurance.

30-year-old Jessica O’Quinn doesn’t qualify for Medicaid and is too poor to get tax credits under the federal exchange. She recently got sick and had to go to the hospital.

“They asked me if I was on any kind of insurance, and I said no, and know I’m going to billed for a lot of money I can’t pay.”

Advocates for expansion say about 481,000 Georgians fall into that same coverage gap, and 44 percent of them are young adults. Cindy Zeldin with Georgians for a Healthy Future says, “It’s real and the consequences are becoming more and more evident every day, and it’s putting us behind as a state.”

Governor Nathan Deal remains opposed to traditional Medicaid expansion.

But as neighboring states like Tennessee consider crafting their own plans and negotiating with the federal government Deal says,

“We have looked at that. We have not found one that we thought fit our situation yet, but a good bit of what the options, in my opinion at least, hinge on Supreme Court decision about the constitutionality of the subsidies in the exchange programs.”

If the high court rules subsidies in states like Georgia with a federal exchange are illegal, hundreds of thousands of Georgians could lose coverage under a federal exchange.