- By Ariel Hart
Recommendations on Georgia’s health care system should come within weeks from a task force launched by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in the Georgia Senate. Legislation may follow when the legislative session begins in January.
The “Health Care Reform Task Force” earlier this year flew in two conservative experts as speakers. They addressed the possibilities for Georgia of “waivers” to the Affordable Care Act. Getting a waiver approved by the federal government could allow Georgia some flexibility with federal health care dollars.
One of Georgia’s biggest health care problems is that the state’s poorest adults are not covered by Medicaid. Obamacare assumed that states would expand Medicaid to cover them, but Georgia rejected expansion, saying it would cost too much down the road. Medicaid expansion remains politically toxic among Georgia Republicans, but waivers have long been seen as a possible alternative. And now the opioid epidemic is such a crisis it’s also prodding action, to deal with the health care aspects of addiction.
Cagle said in a statement following the task force’s final meeting that, “If we work together, and bring a truly innovative approach to solving the challenges we face, we will get more Georgia families access to higher quality, affordable care – and strengthen our fight to defeat major threats to our health like the opioid crisis, cancer, and chronic disease.”
The task force is separate from the Senate’s study committee on barriers to access to health care, which meets next week. The state House is also conducting such a study committee.