Kemp’s “waiver” plan, approved by former President Donald Trump in 2020 before he left office, would redirect shoppers from plans on healthcare.gov to individual companies or private brokers, the AJC reports.
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The “waivers” allow states such as Georgia to waive the federal order and mold the ACA or Medicaid to the needs of the state. During Trump’s term, he urged more and more allowances to chip away at the ACA and give the states’ private insurance carriers more power.
In September 2020, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote that Kemp’s 1332 waiver proposal could “force consumers to navigate the type of fragmented insurance system of brokers and insurers the ACA was intended to remedy” and would end up “decreasing enrollment, raising premiums, and leading more Georgians to enroll in substandard plans instead of comprehensive coverage.”
On April 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a 26-page letter to Grant Thomas, director of the Office of Health Strategy and Coordination, suspending the 1332 waiver and giving the state until July 28, 2022, to send a “corrective action plan” in “compliance with the statutory guardrails,” ensuring Georgians “that the waiver will provide coverage to a comparable number of residents, that the coverage will be at least as comprehensive and affordable as coverage provided without the waiver, and that the waiver will not increase the federal deficit.”
Kemp has long advocated for private insurance as a better alternative for Georgians. But who can trust a lawmaker who would also propose that in order for residents to receive Medicaid coverage, a low-income adult would need to prove they worked 80 hours a month, were enrolled in an education program or were a volunteer for a qualifying organization?
Bill Custer, a health insurance expert at Georgia State University, told The Current in June of 2021: “None of these work requirements have passed muster in the courts … The courts have said these violate the original purpose of Medicaid.”
Both of Kemp’s proposals will likely end up in court.
“If the governor is feeling an urgency to act and get Georgians covered, the quickest and easiest way to do that would be through Medicaid expansion,’’ Colbert told The Current.
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