The Georgia State health care expert, Bill Custer, stressed that the 720,000 number could go up or down a lot depending on how much the state decides to spend on its own.
“It’s what I expected,” said Custer, who is director of the Center for Health Services Research at GSU. “If they want to tinker with this bill to make it less of an increase in the uninsured,” Custer said, “it really comes down to money. The more money they put in, the more the market will stabilize. But the impact on (increasing) the deficit will be greater.”
The big questions and trade-offs the bill presents Georgia remain much the same as those posed by the earlier version.
It has the potential to dramatically reduce federal spending on Medicaid.
So will Georgia pick up the slack and pay more from state funds to cover the poor and disabled? Or will Georgia decide to reduce the number of people eligible for Medicaid? Or reduce the medical services the program should pay for?
It’s a trade-off. “There’s nothing really magical here,” said Gary Claxton, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Georgia leaders have expressed interest in getting a waiver from parts of the current health care law in hopes of experimenting with ways to cover sicker and more expensive patients. Such experiments in other states have had mixed results.
All eyes now turn to the U.S. Senate, where Republicans remain determined to revamp current law. “Regardless of any CBO score, it’s no secret Obamacare is collapsing under its own weight,” U.S. Sen. David Perdue of Georgia said, pointing out rising premiums under the Affordable Care Act. “Doing nothing is not an option.”
Democratic state Rep. Scott Holcomb of Atlanta pointed out that the GOP had rushed to pass its bill without waiting for the CBO score first. “I can’t wait to hear the explanation,” Holcomb said. “Republicans have promised, over and over, that no one will lose coverage, costs will go down, there will be more choices, and taxes will be lower. We know they did not take the time to prepare a thoughtful plan — after crying for years. We need health care reform, but this isn’t it.”
The possible losses in health care funding detailed in the CBO report compounded proposed cuts for Medicaid and Georgia health and science research funding in a new federal budget proposal the White House released this week.
Much like the health care bill, no one thinks the budget will become law as it’s currently written. Congress will make big changes first. But the budget is President Donald Trump’s first, and it signals his ambitions.
Those include significant cuts to the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and research funded by the National Institutes of Health. Such research is a big engine for science at Georgia universities.
The administration hopes that some of the spending curbs and initiatives will reduce paperwork and the risk for fraud and abuse.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL NEWS
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