MILTON, Ga. – The latest salvo in the battle over expanding the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) came from North Fulton’s local representative.
Rep. Jan Jones, R-Milton, introduced House Bill 990, which would take away the authority of the governor to expand Medicaid, a key component of the ACA. Instead, the state legislature would hold that power.
Gov. Nathan Deal has consistently refused to expand Medicaid when the ACA was implemented.
The bill notes that Medicaid is already a large expenditure of state funds. Any expansion would be costly.
“The intent is to protect Georgia from the long-term and significant consequences of such a decision on the budget, on its citizens and the state economy,” said Jones in a statement. “Debate and careful decision-making should be exercised by the House and Senate before Medicaid is expanded.”
Jones said the state already pays $3 billion in Medicaid funding and a further $2 billion for similar services.
An expansion of Medicaid eligibility to low-income families would cost the state billions more. Jones said any expectation of federal funding is a “myth.” An estimated 650,000 more Georgians would be covered if Medicaid were expanded.
Legislative approval is already required in Georgia for Medicaid reform.
“[Medicaid expansion] is likely a one-time, irrevocable decision,” she said. “Once the genie is out of the bottle, we will not be able to put it back in. That is why it is so important that the legislature have a say in this.”
H.B. 990 passed the House March 3 with a vote of 118-57 and was referred to the Senate for a vote.