Dems push Medicaid expansion for left-behind rural Georgia
WASHINGTON – House Democrats are pushing for a vote Wednesday on a resolution authorizing $10 billion in Medicaid spending for the state of Georgia under a health care overhaul that’s expected to include a key new eligibility rule for the expansion program.
The proposal, if approved by a House committee, would make Georgia the second state — after Nebraska — to receive the funds for the new health care law. Georgia’s funding would replace the amount the state had already received from the federal government, which is now capped at $814 million.
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said the resolution is needed because the Georgia delegation is seeking a “full funding for both Medicaid and Children’s health insurance programs at the request of our constituents.”
“We need to move on this quickly,” he told reporters Tuesday.
Under the law, the federal government would contribute $8 billion to Georgia over the next three years for the expansion program, which would be available to people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The state would get about $6 billion.
The federal government would also get $7 billion to reimburse the state for the costs for new eligibility rules governing Medicaid under the law, but it would have to spend the money in 2013, according to the legislation.
The Senate passed a version of the same bill in September, but President Barack Obama rejected it in a statement expressing his view that the state was “receiving too much money.”
Lewis said the resolution will be put to a House subcommittee vote by the Committee on Health, Education and Human Services on Wednesday, and that all lawmakers and the president have to be in the room. President Barack Obama made a similar claim about the House proposal and rejected it as well.
Lewis said the resolution “goes a long way to show how the Obama administration is using Washington D.C. as a tool