Starting in July, the timing of Georgia’s Medicaid program implementation adds more cruelty.

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp | Daily Kos

Medicaid Cruelty

In Georgia’s fiercely contested 2022 gubernatorial race, Republican Governor Brian Kemp emerged victorious over Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, partly by opposing Medicaid expansion. This places Georgia among the stubborn ten states that have yet to adopt the development under the Affordable Care Act, resulting in over 400,000 people being left without insurance. Despite Kemp’s assurances of an alternative plan called Georgia Pathways to Coverage, the reality is far from promising. The scheme incorporates work requirements that burden taxpayers and reduces the number of individuals eligible for coverage. As the COVID-19 pandemic declaration concludes, numerous individuals may lose their Medicaid coverage. Moreover, the stringent work requirements exclude caregivers who cannot leave their homes to meet the mandated obligations, according to SmartNews.

Belinda Sherley, a 42-year-old caregiver responsible for her disabled husband, is caught in the predicament created by Kemp’s plan. Living on a meager income and lacking reliable internet access in her rural home, she cannot comply with the program’s demands. Sherley’s frustration stems from the unavailability of essential assistance when needed.

The ramifications of Kemp’s plan extend beyond the human toll, as it comes with a substantial price tag. Georgia will lose $1.3 billion over the next two years, while only an estimated 100,000 individuals will qualify for coverage. By contrast, a straightforward expansion of Medicaid would provide coverage to 482,000 uninsured individuals at a $10 million annual cost savings for taxpayers, per the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute estimates.

Read also: HHS Has Few Solutions as Countless Individuals Struggle with Medicaid Loss

The plan implementation faces limited opposition due to the challenges of halting it at the federal level. The plan’s initiation during the previous administration resulted in a federal judge ruling in favor of the state, and the current administration chose not to appeal the decision, recognizing the risks associated with pursuing a legal battle.

Georgia’s existing Medicaid restrictions are already stringent, with income limits and the exclusion of childless adults. Most who qualify for Medicaid are already employed in low-wage positions that fail to provide adequate health insurance.

Physician Reed Pitre, who works at the Mercy Care charity clinic in Atlanta, condemns the cruelty of the new program. He highlights the bureaucratic obstacles impoverished individuals face and challenges the assumptions about their access to technology.

Georgia’s flawed Medicaid program, with its consequent exclusion of thousands of uninsured individuals, underscores a system prioritizing bureaucracy over its citizens’ well-being. The refusal to embrace Medicaid expansion continues to perpetuate the hardships faced by vulnerable populations in the state.