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Monday, January 25, 2010 - 4:16am

Funding Medicaid Prime Concern for Lawmakers

There General Asembly is in session again today after a week of budget hearings, where lawmakers got a taste of the tough road ahead. One of the biggest problem facing Georgia is paying for Medicaid.

Georgia’s Medicaid program, is currently propped up by federal stimulus dollars, and they will run out in about year. State Lawmakers are faced now with trying to patch that 506 million dollar hole.

Dr. Arthur Kellerman with Emory University’s school of medicine says lawmakers have few choices, "If Medicaid is cut further many doctors and hospitals will say we can't take Medicaid patients anymore. If Medicaid is cut by kicking more Georgians off the roles you'll see a sharp spike in the number of uninsured above and beyond what's happening now with the recession."

Governor Perdue is proposing a 1.6 percent fee on hospital and insurance plans to plug up the Medicaid budget. But this is also an election year, when convincing lawmakers to raise taxes is difficult.