Gutting Federal Health Law Imperils Ga. Families, Hospitals, State Budget

Thursday, June 22, 2017 Hospital News
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ATLANTA, June 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The metro Atlanta

region stands to  lose $1.6 billion under proposed Medicaid changes in the American Health Care Act and other Georgia regions from the mountains to the coast also stand to lose hundreds of
millions of health system dollars.

A new report by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) says nearly 2 million Georgia children, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities receive vital health coverage through Medicaid benefits. Upending the federal health law threatens the care of these vulnerable Georgians by cutting Medicaid funding in Georgia by $4 billion over 10 years.

Some of the estimated potential losses in the state's 12 health service delivery regions in addition to metro Atlanta's $1.6 billion include $151 million in Middle Georgia, $127 million in Southwest Georgia, $265 in Northwest Georgia and $230 million in Coastal Georgia. Some of Georgia's hospitals most at-risk from Medicaid cuts are Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lake Bridge Behavioral in Macon and Cook Medical Center in Adel.  

"Georgia hospitals where children are a large share of patients tend to be among the most reliant on Medicaid revenue to pay for services," said Laura Harker, author of the report and GBPI health policy analyst. "If Congress replaces the Affordable Care Act as proposed, the financial pain is likely to be felt by both rural and urban hospitals and their surrounding communities."

The U.S. Senate released some details of the latest version of the proposed new federal health law Thursday, June 22.

Proposed changes will undo today's system of marketplace health insurance subsidies and strain school services for special needs students. But the primary threat of harm to Georgia is from the plan to cap state Medicaid funding based on past per-enrollee levels.

Georgia is the 45th ranked state in Medicaid spending per enrollee. A cap locks in that historically low spending for the long haul and promises to strain the state's budget. Georgia lawmakers will then face difficult decisions about cuts to Medicaid eligibility and benefits.

The new GBPI report is the latest and most comprehensive review of the AHCA proposal to radically change the nation's health care policies. It includes estimates of lost Medicaid revenues at the hospital and regional levels, as well as an assessment of the risk to the state as a whole.

Download the full report.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

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