The second-to-the-last day of the 2014 state legislative session kicked off with protests in the Senate gallery over Georgia’s decision not to expand Medicaid. The disruption was part of a rolling series of civil disobedience acts to urge lawmakers not to pass a bill that would bar a sitting governor from adding enrollees to Medicaid.
Georgia lawmakers have now made it to the other side. That is, the other side of so-called Crossover Day, which took place Monday at the state Capitol. They are now three-quarters of the way through the 2014 legislative session, and barreling toward the end, currently scheduled for March 20. Any bill that didn’t pass one of the General Assembly’s chambers Monday won’t have a shot at becoming law in the final ten days of this year’s 40-day legislative session.
The physician pay hike for Medicaid services is finally beginning to reach Georgia doctors, more than a year after it was intended to take effect. The three managed care organizations serving the majority of Medicaid beneficiaries are sending the extra payments to physicians starting this month, according to a schedule released by the Department of Community Health.
The issue of Medicaid expansion drew its first full-scale 2014 General Assembly hearing Wednesday. As expected, the arguments reflected the passions surrounding the Affordable Care Act. A House Judiciary subcommittee voted to pass HB 990, which would require the Legislature to approve any expansion of Medicaid here, rather than leaving the decision up to the governor alone.
State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) and nine other Moral Monday Georgia supporters were arrested inside Gov. Nathan Deal’s office Monday after refusing repeated police orders to leave. The demonstrators wanted Deal to accept their letter urging him to expand the state’s Medicaid program.
While describing how Georgia’s economy has escaped its “deep freeze,” Gov. Nathan Deal again showed no signs of thawing on the idea of expanding Medicaid. Expansion of Medicaid as called for under the Affordable Care Act would cost the state too much, Deal said. A legislative panel Thursday offered a different perspective.
After two years of receiving a bonus, Georgia is not included in the latest round of federal performance awards for enrolling eligible children in government health insurance programs. A state qualifies for a federal bonus by implementing procedures to simplify enrollment and renewal to ensure that all eligible children have easier access to coverage under Medicaid and CHIP, which in Georgia is known as PeachCare.
Nearly a year after it was supposed to take effect, the physician pay hike for Medicaid services still hasn’t been fully implemented in Georgia and other states. The delays have come in states, including Georgia, that use managed care in their Medicaid programs, a physicians organization says.
Calculating the cost to taxpayers, a new study released Thursday says Georgia could see a net loss of $2.9 billion in the year 2022 if it continues to reject Medicaid expansion. That’s because Georgia taxpayers would be paying for expansion of Medicaid in other states, while not getting anything in return, said the Commonwealth Fund study. Additional federal funds go to states that expand Medicaid.
A state agency is updating its hospital coding system for the Medicaid program to meet federal requirements next year. The current “diagnosis related groups” (DRG) system used to reimburse Georgia hospitals is based on cost data derived from 2004 and 2005, and the new one will use 2011 and 2012 data, the Department of Community Health said this week.