Georgia Medicaid Expansion Forum Draws Lawmakers from Out of State

Published November 17, 2016

Georgia state representatives invited Arkansas lawmakers and researchers from out of state to ring in the holiday season by advising members of the Georgia General Assembly on whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Georgia state Reps. Regina Quick (R-Athens) and Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) have confirmed two Arkansas state senators and one state representative will attend the December 4 panel, forum, and reception, titled “Should Georgia Adopt Arkansas-Like Medicaid Expansion?”

Other panelists include researchers from the Foundation for Government Accountability and The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News.

The event, which will be hosted at the Holiday Inn in downtown Athens, will start at 6 p.m., after scheduled programming has concluded at the nearby 30th Biennial Institute for Georgia Legislators, an unaffiliated event hosted by the University of Georgia.

Debate Looms

Spencer says the question of whether to expand Medicaid will be a central policy item of the upcoming legislative session, scheduled to begin on January 9, 2017.

“The 2017 legislative session will have many major policy issues before the Georgia General Assembly, and Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will surely receive the lion’s share of our focus,” Spencer said.

State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and has opposed Medicaid expansion in the past, said in June the state’s lawmakers “have to open that box and look just a little bit and see what’s available,” referring to options for expanding Medicaid through a federal waiver, as Arkansas did in 2013.

Citing Unterman’s comment in an op-ed published the same month, Spencer wrote, “Expanding Medicaid under Obamacare—no matter what name or form the expansion takes—would be opening a Pandora’s box.”

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce proposed three Medicaid expansion plans in August.

Michael T. Hamilton ([email protected]) is a Heartland Institute research fellow and the managing editor of Health Care News, author of the weekly Consumer Power Report, and host of the Health Care News Podcast.

Internet Info:

Matthew Glans, “Nothing ‘Free’ about Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Free-Market’ Medicaid Expansion Plan,” Research & Commentary, The Heartland Institute, September 12, 2016.

Matthew Glans, “Georgia Should Continue to Oppose Medicaid Expansion,” Research & Commentary, The Heartland Institute, June 29, 2016.

Jonathan Ingram and Nicholas Horton, “Arkansas’ Failed Medicaid Experiment: Not a Model for Nebraska,” Platte Institute for Economic Research, January 2016.

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