Georgians overwhelmingly support Medicaid expansion

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Georgians overwhelmingly support Medicaid expansion

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
About 20 “Moral Monday” protesters were arrested at the state Capitol in March 2014 after disrupting the Senate by shouting and holding signs calling for Medicaid expansion. Georgia is one of 19 states that has refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. BRANT SANDERLIN /BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

A majority of Georgians support expanding Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of poor, uninsured residents, a new poll by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows.

Seventy-five percent of people surveyed -- including 57 percent of Republicans -- said they support growing the health program for the poor, according to poll data.

Georgia is one of 19 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Gov. Nathan Deal and conservative lawmakers have long opposed the expansion, saying the state can’t afford to grow an already too expensive and unwieldy program.

Expanding Medicaid would extend health coverage to an estimated 600,000 Georgians. The program currently covers more than 1 million children, pregnant women, the elderly and disabled.

A growing number of Georgia Republicans have joined with Democrats, health care providers and consumer advocates in calling for expansion.

But with Congress poised to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, state leaders say it doesn’t make sense to make such a big decision when it’s unclear what will replace the health care law.

Instead, when lawmakers meet under the Gold Dome on Monday, they will focus on watching what happens in Washington.

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