Just don't call it Medicaid expansion: Healthcare negotiations heat up in Georgia

Credit: Greg Bluestein

Credit: Greg Bluestein

The behind-the-scenes negotiations in the governor's office over Medicaid expansion seem to be heating up.

Gov. Nathan Deal's chief of staff Chris Riley met recently with two former aides, Brian Robinson and Blake Fulenwider, who are now part of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's "Medicaid reform" efforts.

They outlined three options they want the governor to consider before lawmakers return to the Capitol, Robinson said, and each will be a conservative take on the traditional Medicaid expansion that Deal has rebuffed as too expensive. Andy Miller of Georgia Health News has more details:

Currently, people above that poverty limit ($11,880 for an individual) qualify for tax credits in the ACA's insurance exchange. But the limit of 100 percent of the federal poverty level is lower than what the ACA calls for: covering people in Medicaid at up to 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, which is $16,394 for an individual.

The narrower span, though, would still cover up to 565,000 people – a much higher estimate than previous Georgia projections, the task force says.

A growing number of Republicans once resistant to the notion of expanding the healthcare program are now embracing it, and Deal has said he's open to "variations" of a traditional expansion.