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Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 10:30am

Georgia Ranks Low In Health Coverage

New Census figures put Georgia at the bottom of the nation when it comes to the percentage of residents with health insurance.

The state ranks 44th in overall coverage, with working-age adults coming under the greatest strain.

Employer-based insurance has shrunk eight-percent since the start of the recession.

That's left uninsured more than a quarter of all Georgians between the ages of 18 and 64.

Governor Nathan Deal has said, he won't take up President Obama's proposed solution, a Medicaid expansion that Deal calls too expensive.

Tim Sweeney of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute says, in the long run, it's more expensive to treat the uninsured in emergency rooms.

"It's important to look at the new state costs and context," Sweeney says. "Over the long term -- over the ten years that the state has projected -- the new state costs amount to one or two percent of total state spending."

Census data released last week broke down the uninsured by state.

"Those costs get filtered down through the system through privately insured individuals," Sweeney says. "Businesses pick up part of the tab of that. The inefficiency in the system right now of having so many Georgians without health coverage increases costs for everyone else."

Data expected this week will detail state numbers by demographics.

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