Alert
Close

Take AARP’s Smart Driver course and you could save money on your car insurance. Learn more

Highlights

Open
AARP Real Possibilities

 

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

AARP Auto Buying Program

MOST POPULAR

Viewed

Georgia

Expand Medicaid to Reduce Uninsured

Governor opposes adding to Medicaid rolls despite federal funds

Cheryl Christian, Georgia’s largest free clinic new clients are often unemployed people 50 to 64 who lost their health insurance

Cheryl Christian, head of Georgia's largest free clinic, says new clients are often unemployed people 50 to 64 who lost their health insurance. AARP wants Medicaid to expand to cover many of them. — David Walter Banks

Before the economic downturn, Georgia's largest free clinic mostly saw people who had been without insurance for many years: the homeless and minimum-wage earners.

The $4.5 billion is an inflated figure, said Timothy Sweeney, director of health policy for the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute, a nonpartisan organization in favor of the expansion.

He said the $4.5 billion estimate includes costs that are separate from the Medicaid expansion and does not include projected revenue from a premium tax paid by managed-care companies that administer Medicaid under state auspices.

Even so, the Deal administration's estimate represents less than a 2 percent increase in state spending over the next decade, Sweeney said.

"This is not a budget buster."

Can't afford to say "no"

The state cannot afford to pass up the opportunity to have more of its citizens covered, proponents of expanding Medicaid say.

For instance, providing Medicaid coverage for middle-aged people would ease the later financial burden on Medicare, the federal government's health insurance program for people 65 and older, Sweeney said. That's because chronic health conditions would be better managed before people qualify for Medicare.

It also would boost the state's economy because of additional payments to doctors, nurses, hospitals and pharmacies, he said.

Opting out of the Medicaid expansion will continue to put pressure on the safety net that includes free clinics and public hospitals, AARP Georgia and other advocates say.

"If we shine a light on what the expansion will do for the state, I think we have a shot," said Kathy Floyd, AARP Georgia associate state director for advocacy.

During the legislative session, AARP Georgia will support a bill to allow workers to use their sick time to care for an ill family member.

Ann Hardie is a writer living in Atlanta.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Video Extra

AARP Executive VP and economist Debra Whitman explains why the chained CPI is a growing benefit cut that is most harmful for the oldest and poorest beneficiaries of Social Security.

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Downloadable mobile app from AARP® Roadside Assistance from Allstate.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can earn 3% cash back on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.