FACT SHEET: Medicaid Expansion Would Boost Georgia’s Economy

July 29, 2021

Ahead of Anniversary of Medicaid, Case for Expansion in Georgia Clearer Than Ever

On Friday, July 30, the one in five Georgians who rely on Medicaid will celebrate the 56th anniversary of the landmark program, which provides health coverage to low-income adults and children. But Georgia Republicans’ continued refusal to expand Medicaid has left hundreds of thousands of Georgians uninsured, Georgia’s health outcomes some of the worst in the county,  and the state’s rural health care infrastructure without the resources it needs to stay afloat. 

Medicaid expansion is more popular than ever, with a majority of Georgians supporting it. It is also fiscally sound – if Georgia were to expand Medicaid now, the state would receive enough federal funds to cover the cost of Medicaid expansion and then some. 

Amid Georgia Republicans’ refusal to do the right thing, Democrats in Congress — led by Senators Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock and Representatives Carolyn Bourdeaux, Lucy McBath, and Nikema Williams — have introduced legislation to create a federal pathway for Medicaid expansion that bypasses Kemp’s inaction.

“There is no logical reason for Georgia Republicans to continue blocking Medicaid expansion. Not only is it the morally correct thing to do, but it is a good financial deal for Georgia,” said Rebecca Galanti, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “The fact that Brian Kemp claims he is strong on economic issues but refuses to expand Medicaid is ironic at best and cruel at worst. Georgia would now pay nothing for Medicaid expansion, yet Republicans still oppose it, revealing their opposition was never about the cost – it was about partisan politics and denying health care to low-income Georgians. While Republicans continue to drag their feet on Medicaid expansion, Georgia Democrats are fighting to circumvent Republican inaction and give Georgia’s economy the boost it needs as we recover from the pandemic.”

FAST FACTS: Medicaid Expansion Would Boost Georgia’s Economy

Medicaid Expansion is Good for Georgia’s Economy

  • Medicaid expansion would create 56,000 Georgia jobs annually. According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Medicaid expansion would create 56,000 jobs annually in Georgia, including 12,000 in rural Georgia.
  • Medicaid expansion would generate $6.5 billion in economic activity annually. According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Medicaid expansion would generate $6.5 billion annually annually in statewide economic output, including $1.3 billion in rural Georgia.
  • Medicaid expansion would cost Georgia nothing. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would already cover 90% of the cost of Medicaid expansion in Georgia. But thanks to incentives in the American Rescue Plan, if Georgia were to expand Medicaid now, the state would receive an increase in federal funds that would cover the rest of the cost of Medicaid expansion and then some. 
  • Georgia would actually make $710 million expanding Medicaid. Medicaid expansion in Georgia would cost about $336 million over the next two years, but if Georgia expands now, the state would receive between $1.4 and $1.9 billion in federal funds over two years for our existing Medicaid program. These additional funds can be used to pay for our share of Medicaid expansion, with the remainder available to fund other state priorities.

Medicaid Expansion is Good for Georgians’ Financial Stability

  • Medicaid expansion would reduce income inequality and poverty in Georgia. Studies show the Affordable Care Act reduced income inequality across the board, but more so in Medicaid expansion states – the bottom 10th percentile of earners In Medicaid expansion states saw a 22.4% income boost, compared to 11.4% in non-expansion states like Georgia. Medicaid expansion is also shown to cause a “significant” reduction in poverty
  • Medicaid expansion would reduce Georgians’ medical debt. The chance of accruing medical debt is 20% lower in states that have expanded Medicaid. Studies show that Medicaid expansion also led to a sharp decrease in unpaid medical bills and higher credit scores for recipients.
  • Medicaid expansion would help Georgians stay employed. Reports in Medicaid expansion states show that expansion helps enrollees hold down jobs and look for work.
  • Medicaid helps would increase financial stability for disabled Georgians. Studies show that people with disabilities are much more likely to be employed in states that have expanded Medicaid. Additionally, the number of people who report not working because of a disability declined in expansion states.

Read more about how Medicaid expansion will increase coverageimprove health outcomes, and strengthen rural health care in Georgia.

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