Medicaid was enacted as a cooperative venture between state and federal governments to provide medical care to low-income people and families. Participation was made elective on a state-by-state basis, and, unfortunately, the Georgia legislature has chosen to make Medicaid out-of-reach for most Georgia low-income families.
Two laws intended to make Medicaid expansion difficult in Georgia were passed during the 2014 legislative session. The first bill prohibits the expansion of Medicaid benefits without legislative approval, while the other bill prohibits state and local employees from advocating for Medicaid Expansion. While certain politicians, including Gov. Nathan Deal, have been urging expansion of Medicaid coverage, nothing has happened, and Medicaid coverage in Georgia has not expanded. Many opponents of Medicaid expansion claim that such programs will bankrupt the state, but the state pays only 10% of the costs, with Federal reimbursement paying the balance. Even this minor expense would be offset by savings in other areas of health care.
Meanwhile, Georgia's Medicaid eligibility standards remain set as follows:
- Children up to age 1 with family income up to 205 percent of Federal Poverty Level
- Children ages 1-5 with family income up to 149 percent of FPL
- Children ages 6-18 with family income up to 133 percent of FPL
- Pregnant women with family income up to 220 percent of FPL
- Parents of minor children with family income up to 35 percent of FPL
- Individuals who are elderly, blind and disabled
These levels are relatively low compared to the other fifty states.
Even with its low levels of coverage, many Georgians can obtain Medicaid coverage. Anyone having difficulty in obtaining Medicaid coverage may wish to consult an attorney who is experienced in handling Medicaid coverage issues.