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Health Nonprofit Says 275,000 Georgians Could Benefit from Medicaid Expansion


The nation’s largest health philanthropy says more than two million adults in the United States, including some 275,000 here in Georgia, don’t have health insurance due to the Medicaid Coverage Gap. 

That’s according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Kathy Hempstead is Senior Policy Advisor for the nonprofit.

“Income is too low to make them eligible for the ACA Marketplace plan, so they end up sort of in a gap where they don’t have enough money to be able to afford health insurance, they’re not getting it from a job and they’re not eligible for Medicaid either.”

Hempstead said 38 states have expanded their Medicaid coverage, however, the Peach is not among them.

Georgia is one of 12 states that have not expanded their Medicaid coverage, and half of those without coverage have jobs. Hempstead says the gap disproportionately affects people of color and lower income residents. The situation is worse for minorities and lower income families.

“What people tend to do is avoid going to doctors because they’re justifiably afraid of getting bills, going into debt sometimes.” 

She says there are some economic benefits in states that have expanded.

“People have been able to look at what’s happened in expansion states,” according to Hempstead. “It’s obviously really good for the bottom line of hospitals and health care providers because they’re going to get paid for more of their patients. Another effect is that people are less likely to be in debt and have more money to spend on other things.”

For more information, visit the Robert Wood Johnson website at www.rwjf.org.

Governor Brian Kemp unveiled a Medicaid waiver plan called Pathways, in 2020.

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