A perennial issue of interest in Georgia politics is the question of expanding Medicaid coverage to all poor adults. Neither Burns nor Parrish raised the issue of Medicaid expansion, though Parrish and a spokesman for Burns did not flatly rule it out when asked by a reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Aides to Gov. Brian Kemp have regularly ruled out taking on full Medicaid expansion.
In an interview outside the meeting hall, Parrish told the AJC that with his new committee, “We probably all have the same goal to make sure we all have quality, affordable health care.” Asked if that included looking at Medicaid expansion, Parrish said, “We’re going to look at everything.”
A spokesman for Burns emphasized that the announcement was “not reflective of a policy change.” The spokesman, Kaleb McMichen, said “It’s an internal change to improve coordination on policy among the various healthcare committees, both legislative and budgetary. All the Speaker announced today is a change in committee structure.”
Unlike most states, Georgia’s Medicaid program does not insure all poor adults. Partly as a result, Georgia has the nation’s third-worst rate of people without any health insurance.
Currently Georgia Medicaid mostly insures children, and some older and disabled adults.
Kemp has led the creation instead of a smaller solution, a partial Medicaid expansion called a “waiver.” The waiver may end up insuring about 50,000 poor adults when it takes effect.