The Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Healthcare Access Task Force released a proposal Wednesday to combat Georgia’s high uninsured population.
The plan provides three different tracks for Georgia legislators to consider, none of which expand Medicaid to the full extent provided by the Affordable Care Act. However, each proposal would substantially reduce Georgia’s uninsured rate, which hovers around 6 percentage points higher than the national average — 48th-ranked in the U.S.
The three proposed plans are as follows:
1) Close the Coverage Gap. One of the great absurdities of the mangled ACA is that states declining to expand Medicaid cannot even promise low-income citizens subsidies in the private insurance market because some are too poor to qualify. The subsidies originally were intended for non-Medicaid recipients, so they the federal government cuts them off at 100 percent of the poverty line. This leaves a “coverage gap” in non-expansion states, where a person’s income could be too high for Medicaid but too low for subsidies. The task force’s first proposal would close this gap by expanding Medicaid to childless adults up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level (“FPL”) ($11,880 for an individual in 2016).
2) Medicaid Expansion Reworked. The task force’s second option uses Georgia’s Medicaid CMOs to expand eligibility up to 138 percent of the FPL — the income threshold called for under the ACA. However, because this model would contain elements unlike the traditional Medicaid expansion, such as cost-sharing by beneficiaries, Georgia would still have to petition the federal government for approval of the model as a “waiver.”
3) Public/Private Hybrid. The third option would use Medicaid CMOs to insure those up to 100 percent of the FPL, but would use private qualified health plans, paid for by Medicaid with some cost-sharing, to cover the population between 100 and 138 percent of the FPL.
Georgia Health News reports that the task force will release enrollment estimates or savings projections tied to each plan later this year.