Politics

Why A Ga. GOP Chair Wants To ‘Re-Examine’ Medicaid Expansion

Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE

State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), speaking with Denis O’Hayer on “Morning Edition” (Broadcast Version)

There are an estimated 400,000 Georgians who can’t afford health care insurance, but who have too much income to qualify for Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, aimed to close that gap by offering federal money to states if they expanded Medicaid to cover more of those people.

But more than six years after the ACA took effect, Georgia has consistently refused to expand Medicaid. And without that federal money, Georgia officials have had to pump millions of state dollars into the health system to meet exploding costs.

Recently, a leading Republican who had argued against state participation in the ACA said she wants to re-examine some form of Medicaid expansion, even if it’s not directly under Obamacare. Other states, including Arkansas, have been able to reach agreement with the feds to implement their own “third way” of Medicaid expansion. State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), the chair of the Georgia Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, wants to try something like that.

On “Morning Edition,” Unterman spoke about why she wants to explore the expansion option, and whether the state waited too long to consider a compromise on Medicaid.State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), speaking with Denis O’Hayer on “Morning Edition” (Expanded Version)