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.
A group of state lawmakers wants Medicaid patients to help pay for their care. A Senate committee says Georgia’s current Medicaid program is financially unsustainable. This year, the General Assembly had to renew a tax on hospitals to cover a $700 million shortfall in Medicaid. Medicaid costs in Georgia are also expected to increase by more than $100 million next year, due to changes under the Affordable Care Act.
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.
The percentage of Georgia children who are uninsured has declined, but the state still has the fourth-highest number of kids without coverage, according to a report released Wednesday. In raw numbers, Georgia has nearly 220,000 children who are uninsured, trailing only Texas, California and Florida, said the report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. All three of those states have much higher populations than Georgia.
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.
As many as 15 rural hospitals in Georgia could close in the coming months, according to an industry spokesman. The facilities are losing millions of dollars in federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, at the same time that Georgia is not expanding Medicaid. Three rural hospitals have shut down this year in the state, and as many as 15 more may be closing their doors.
Georgians will be paying about $101 million more in Medicaid costs next year. According to the state Department of Community Health (DCH), the additional expenses are due to changes to the program under the Affordable Care Act.
Millions of older adults are unable to get the dental services they need because it’s often not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the VA. Among Georgians 65 years and older, almost one in four have lost all their teeth, according to the CDC’s State Oral Health Profile. And Georgia has no dentist in 24 of its 159 counties.