Despite Public Opposition, Georgia Government Fights Providing Health Care to Low-Income Citizens
A strong majority of Georgia residents favor expanding Medicaid eligibility as called for under the Affordable Care Act. But Republican lawmakers have taken steps to ensure that such expansion does not happen anytime soon.
A new survey from Georgia College shows that 59.6% of Georgians disagree either somewhat or strongly with the state’s decision to decline Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, while only 30.2% agree. The numbers are even higher among women (65%) and African-Americans (83%).
Regardless of the public disapproval, the GOP-controlled legislature and Republican Governor Nathan Deal adopted two bills that make it harder for poor people to receive health insurance coverage.
House Bill 990 transferred authority to expand Medicaid from the governor to the legislature, where it’s unlikely to find favor with the large Republican majority.
Another measure, HB 943, prohibits state and local agencies from pushing for Medicaid expansion. It also bans the establishment of a state health insurance exchange, which is how many Americans have signed up for coverage under Obamacare.
The legislation even stymies the University of Georgia’s “navigator” program that sends advocates into rural areas to help people sign up for health insurance.
Georgia has a 20% poverty rate and about two million residents lacking medical coverage, according to Salon. Expanding Medicare would give half a million of those Georgians health care. Women in particular suffer from lack of medical care in Georgia. More women die of pregnancy-related causes in Georgia than in all but two other states.
To Learn More:
Georgia Declares All-out War on the Poor (by Andrea Flynn, Salon)
Georgia’s State of the State Poll (by Costas Spirou, and Min Kim, Georgia College) (pdf)
Why Does the U.S. Have Such a High Infant Mortality Rate? (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)
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