2019 Georgia Health Report Summary

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2019 Georgia Health Report Summary

The Advocates for Responsible Care (ARxC) supports waivers to expand Medicaid in Georgia under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a member of Cover GA, we are inspired to see legislators can no longer ignore the need of our citizens to have affordable medical coverage. The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) recently released a report addressing the need to expand Medicaid.

The findings of The GA DCH Waiver Project reinforces the need to fully expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which provides coverage for working-age adults who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty line. It found about 666,000 Georgians fit in that category – higher than some previous estimates

“Georgia has an opportunity to save lives, help rural economies and make a dent in our health care provider shortage - but only by fully expanding Medicaid,” said Stacey Abrams, Kemp’s Democratic opponent in 2018.  

“The Deloitte numbers don’t lie,” she added. “Kemp’s half-measures cannot solve a deepening crisis.”

The report could entice politicians to explore new ways to encourage smaller businesses to provide coverage to their employees. It showed that 60% of uninsured Georgians over the age of 16 currently have jobs. 

"We need to look at incentives for partnerships in a way that encourages people who have no coverage to move into the health care exchange or encourage employers to cover them,” said state Sen. Dean Burke, a Bainbridge Republican who is a physician.  

He was among a group of dozens of lawmakers, health officials and Kemp administration officials who met to discuss the report, which includes these findings:

  • - Georgia’s uninsured rate in 2017 was 14.8%, compared with 10.5% nationally. The uninsured rate in some counties, particularly in rural areas, soared above 30%. 
  • - An estimated 28.5% of the population below the poverty line is uninsured – 478,000 people. That rate is higher than the national average of 20% in states that have expanded Medicaid and 26% in states that have not. An additional 190,000 uninsured adults make less than 138% of the poverty line. 
  • - Roughly 27% of young adults, ages 19-34, are uninsured. That’s the second-highest uninsured rate for that age bracket in the nation. And 8% of children don’t have insurance coverage, above the national average of 5%. 
  • - Minorities are more likely to be uninsured than white residents. About one-third of Hispanic residents and 15% of African Americans have no health coverage, compared with 12% of whites. 
  • - Over one-third of the uninsured population in Georgia is concentrated in five metro Atlanta counties: Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett.
  • - Seven rural hospitals have closed in Georgia since 2010, the third-highest rate of closures in the nation behind Texas and Tennessee. An additional 26 of the state’s remaining 63 rural hospitals are at risk of closure.